Reduce food cost & food waste with soup

Food prices are going UP in 2021! The forecasted increase is the HIGHEST in dollar EVER projected by the Canada Food Price Report. 

This empty fridge soup is an easy way to reduce your food costs and your food waste.

In this blog we discuss

  • Empty fridge soup recipe
  • Soup preparation tips
  • Crouton recipe
  • Food price forecast
  • Food waste
Canada's food price forecast

Canada‚Äôs Food Price Report, published by Dalhousie University and the University of Guelph predicts the highest increase in dollars of the report’s history.¬† An increase of 695$ for a total of 13,907$ is the anticipated food cost of a family with 2 adults and 2 children – This amount DOES NOT include ANY food service.¬†

Food waste

The average household waste 309 lbs/year of food – worth on average 1,100$!

The comestible waste throughout the food chain is estimated at 11.2 million tons.  To better understand how much food that represents we need to break it down. 11.2 million tons of food is enough to feed ALL Canadian for 4.9 months!

What can we do?

As a starter, main course, side dish or as a sauce, soups can transform yesterday’s leftovers and less appetizing vegetables into tasty new dishes. It’s one of the fastest, easiest, and most delicious ways to use up the foods in your fridge and pantry!


Empty Fridge Soup
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 tbsp Butter or vegetable oil
  • 5 cups of mixed vegetables or 1 single vegetable cut into slices or quarters (e.g. carrots, turnip, squash, broccoli, cauliflower, leek)
  • 5 cups of liquid of your choice
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. In a saucepan, soften the onion in the butter. Add the vegetables and broth. Bring to a boil. Simmer for about 20 minutes.
  2. Optional – In a blender, reduce the soup to a smooth puree. Salt and pepper.
Optional ingredients
Optional soup ingredients

Add these ingredients with the vegetables and broth. 

  • Parmesan rind – remove before blending. It will add umami to the soup
  • Potato, mashed potatoes, rice, grains. Add about 1 cup. It will thicken the soup.
Soup liquid ideas

You can include a combinations of liquid.

  • water
  • vegetables broth
  • chicken/beef broth
  • cream (1/2 cup)
  • coconut milk (1/2 cup)
  • orange or apple juice (up to 1 cup)
Fine herbs &/or spices by vegetable type

Add these ingredients with the vegetables and broth.

  • Orange vegetables
    • Cumin (1 tsp) ginger (1 tsp)
    • Ginger (1 tsp), turmeric (1/2 tsp), pepper (1/8 tsp), cinnamon (1/2 tsp), nutmeg (1/4 tsp)
    • Curry (1 tsp), turmeric (1 tsp), pepper (1/8 tsp), 1 lemon (zest and juice add after the coup is cooked)
  • Varied vegetables
    • Bay leaf (1), thyme (1/2 tsp)
    • Oregano (1 tsp), basil (1 tsp)
    • Provence herbs (2 tsp)
    • Italian herbs (2 tsp)
  • Green vegetables
    • Dill (to taste), Greek yogurt (to taste)
    • pesto (2 to 3 tbsp)

Use to decorate the soup.

  • Croutons – see recipe below
  • Herbs
  • Parmesan¬†
  • Meat (crispy bacon, leftover chicken,…)
  • Cream / Greek yogurt
  • Lemon or orange zest
  • Pesto
Soup preparation tips

1. To make the soup pretty, use vegetables of the same color. When you mix all the leftover vegetables for a soup, the soup can be a little brown. From today, your soups will be vibrant with different color combinations. 

  • Orange produce
    • sweet potato, carrots, squash, pumpkin, bell peppers,…
  • Green produce
    • Broccoli, spinach, lettuce, fennel, leeks, …
  • Neutral produce
    • potatoes, cauliflowers, parsnips, rutabaga, apples,…
    • Neutral produce can be added to any colour soup or can be used to make a very lightly coloured soup.¬†

2. To control the thickness of your soup, you can remove about 1 cup of the broth before blending and add it back as desired.


Croutons recipe

Since we are making an “empty fridge soup” might as well double up on the waste reduction and make croutons with leftover or dried bread.¬† Home made croutons taste nothing like store bought ones. They are filled with layers of flavours. Get ready to fall in love with croutons!

  • Leftover bread – about 4 cups
  • Oil – 1 tbsp¬†
    • e.g. cameline, olive, grapeseed oil, avocado
  • Dried herbs of choice – 1 tbsp¬†
    • e.g: Italian spices, provence, basil, oregano.
  • Salt & pepper


  • Heat the oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with parment paper or a silicon cooking mat.
  • Cut the bread in 1/2 to 1 inch cubes. Place the bread cubes on the lined baking sheet.
  • Drizzle the bread with oil, herbs, salt & pepper.¬†
  • Combine with your hands and place in a single layer.
  • Bake 15 minutes. Let cool.
Why homemade croutons?
  • Home made croutons cost lest than half the price of store bought ones and taste a lot better.
  • The ingredient list is simple and high quality.
  • Reduce food waste by using bread that may have ended up in the garbage.¬†
Canada's food price forecast

Canada‚Äôs Food Price Report, published by Dalhousie University and the University of Guelph predicts the highest increase in dollars of the report’s history.¬†

The 2021 food price forecast is as follows:


The 2021 report forecasts that overall food prices will increase 3 to 5%.

An increase of 695$ for a total of 13,907$ is the anticipated food cost of a family with these members:

  • a man (age 31‚Äď50)
  • a woman (age 31‚Äď 50)
  • a boy (age 14‚Äď18)
  • a girl (age 9‚Äď13)

This amount does not includes any food service expenses. 

Food Waste
Household food waste

The average household waste 309 lbs/year of food – worth on average 1,100$!

Food chain total waste

In Canada, 58% of the food produced is wasted throughout the food chain Рa total of 35,5 million tons. This includes non comestible foods like eggshells and bones.  The comestible waste throughout the entire food chain is estimated at 11,2 million tons. 

To better understand how much food that 11,2 million tons represents we need to break it down. Here are the maths:

  • How much food is that per Canadian?
    • 11,2 millions tons of food/ 37.6 million canadians = 0.3 tons/Canadian
    • 1 ton = 2000 lbs
    • 0.3 tons = 600 lbs
  • How long does it take to eat this amount of food?
    • The average person eats 4 pounds a day.
    • 600/4 = 150 days of food
    • 150 days = 4.9 months

This 11,2 million tons of food is enough food to feed each Canadian for 4.9 months!

Global food waste
  • ¬†

Food waste is an important global issue globally. Here are some numbers to better understand the impact of food waste:

  • 1/3 of the food produced in the world is lost or thrown away, equivalent to around 1.3 billion tonnes per year
  • Food produced but not consumed unnecessarily occupies nearly 1.4 billion hectares of land, which is the size of Canada and India combined.
  • Producing all this lost or discarded food requires about 1/4 of all the water used in agriculture each year.


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10 questions you always ask yourself before cooking

What's for dinner?!

That familiar question may make you feel overwhelmed and fill you with dread. The effort required to prepare a home-made meal is one of the most underestimated!

We know that overwhelmed feeling that comes with the thought of preparing meals! As busy professional, the weight of preparing nutritious meals became heavy. When looking for a healthy and local solution, we quickly realized none were available and that’s why we created ¬†ZestyKits.

Why does meal preparation feel so overwhelming?

Examining the pre-work required by cooking helps us gain a better understanding and appreciation of the efforts required to serve a meal. 

This list of 10 questions you ask yourself everytime you cook helps understand how much the mental load of cooking is underestimated.

Reading this list, you will quickly realize… It’s so much more than cooking!

10 questions we ask ourselves before we begin cooking

We often think of cooking as choping and mixing. Cooking requires a lot of additional effort that is often ignored.

This list will help you become conscious of the numerous questions we ask ourselves before cooking and will illustrate why bringing meals to the table can feel overwhelming.  

Who is eating?
  1. How hungry will they (I) be? 
  2.  What do they like?
  3. Do they have any allergies or intolerances?

4. What do I have in the fridge? How much?
5. Which ingredient(s) is about to go bad?

6. What receipe can I make with what I have?
7. Do I want leftovers? How long will the leftovers last?
8. What do I need to buy?


9. How much do I want to spend?


10. How much time do I have available to shop, cook, clean?

Life can be difficult, dinner doesn't have to be

Isn’t it unbelievable the amount of questions we routinely ask ourselves before cooking even begins? No wonder you can feel overwhelmed when asked: What’s for dinner?¬† No wonder you are tempted to¬†order in more often.¬†

We are here to let you know there is an other option.   ZestyKits takes the weight off and help lighten your mental load. Take a look at our meal plans which are not only easy and delicious but also sourced locally!

Life can be difficult, dinner doesn’t have to be!

Let us simplify your life!

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Pantry Essentials

Many restaurants are now closed and with most of us now working remotely, cooking at home is more important than ever. This blog includes the following:

  • Steps to stock up on non-perishables
  • Pantry essentials¬†
  • Ideas to use pantry essentials
  • Shelf-life guidelines

The Centre for Disease Control and prevention (CDC) recommends having a minimum two week supply of food at home.

Preparing a pantry to last a minimum of two weeks is not an easy task for many, especially for new cooks and those on restrictive diets. This blog provides the tools to ensure your pantry is well stocked and provides you the inspiration to cook with pantry ingredients.

How to stock up on non-perishable in an effective way

Take inventory of what you have

Begin by looking at what is currently in your pantry, fridge & freezer. Use our PANTRY GUIDE to note anything running low in your pantry

Make sure you have the basics

Some basics are essential to cook virtually anything. These include: oil, vinegar, dry herbs and spices, salt and flour.

Make a meal plan

Shopping for self-isolation does not mean ditching healthy eating. Try to stay away from highly processed foods which can be very tempting during stressful situations. Having a meal plan of how to use your food is a good way to continue to eat whole foods and avoid processed foods. Take 10 minutes to write down a few meals you would like to make in the next 2 weeks. Would you like some freezer meals? If you have any family favourites, you can make a larger batch and freeze them for a few meals. Do you have frozen chicken for that chicken pot pie? Do you have ground beef for that spaghetti meatballs? Ensure to go through the recipes and add any required ingredients to your list. 

Talk with loved ones

If you are starting to feel overwhelmed, remember we are all in this together and we are stronger together. Call your friends and family. If you don’t have ideas of recipes to freeze or make with pantry items, ask your loved ones for inspiration. We are also providing a list of freezer recipes and recipes made with pantry ingredients. If you have extra frozen meals, consider sharing them with loved ones who need a hand. 

Space and Financial Budget

Determine how much space and money you have available to stock your pantry.

Pantry Essential - The Ultimate Guide

How can pantry essentials be used?

Grains & Flour
  • Grains make an amazing side dish. Think: Rice pilaf and quinoa salad. They can also be central to dishes like with paella or vietnamese noodle bowls.
  • Flour is fundamental to many comforting staples: breads, pizza, cake, muffins, cookies, pie, dumplings, and many others.
Dried Fruits
  • Combined with nuts dried fruits make a good snack.
  • Add them to granola, chia puddings or overnight oats for bursts of flavours.
Nuts & Seeds
  • Add them to granola or top oats.
  • Use as topping on salads.
  • Combine with fresh or dried fruits for a snack.
Legumes & Beans
  • Legumes and beans are can be used to make chili, hummus, salads, tacos.
  • Cooked legumes can also be lightly oiled, salted and toasted for a delicious and nutritious snack.¬†
Oils & Vinegars
  • Oils are an essential to pan frying or roasting vegetables.
  • Combine oil, vinegar and spices to create delicious salad dressing.
Herbs & Spices
  • Is essential to create almost all comfort dishes from bolognese, chili to chicken pot pie.¬†
  • Use them to easily transform the flavour of a casserole, stew or soup.
  • Frozen meats can be used in a variety of dishes: bolognese sauce, chili, chicken pot pie, beef stew, fish stew, cabbage rolls, and many others.
  • Frozen fruits can be used to make smoothies or to add to oatmeals and muffins.
  • Frozen vegetables can be added to tons of dishes.
  • Root vegetables can be used to make a variety of dishes including: Mashed potatoes, cabbage rolls, borscht soup, beef stew, chili, or as a side dish roasted at 400F for 20 minutes lightly oil and salted.
  • ¬†

It is comforting to incorporate a few indulgent foods, like chocolates or other sweets to pantry essentials Рespecially during stressful times. Ensure to not overindulge by eating mindfully. 

  • Delicious bakings include: cakes, cookies, pies, cinnamon buns, brownies, and many others.¬†

What's the shelf-life of common pantry items?

The estimates provided estimates. Read all information on packaging regarding expiration and “use by” dates, and how long the item is safe to consume after opening. If a date on a package differs from the dates listed, rely on the package.

Use your senses of sight and smell to be sure food is safe to eat. Even if it says it‚Äôs within the expiration date periods, if it smells or looks funny throw it out! Remember that “best before” dates do not mean “bad after”. Use your senses and judgement to minimize food waste.

Must be Unopened

Estimated Shelf-Life


3-5 weeks

Coffee - Whole beans

6-8 months


8 months

Sauces & condiments

1 year

Chocolate chips

1 year

Brown rice

1 year


1 year

All Purpose Flour

1 year

Legumes & Beans

18 months


1 - 2 years

Cocoa powder

2 years

Baking soda

2 year


2 years

Dry pasta

2 years





What to do with kids when you‚Äôre stuck at home ‚Äď The Ultimate Guide

Blog provided by:
Lacey Engel, Registered Dietitian 
BSc. Nutrition, BSc. Kinesiology.
Owner of Beyond Baby Nutrition

The current COVID-19 pandemic is wild to say the least. One minute you’re planning birthday parties, St. Patrick’s Day festivities, Easter feasts, and going on vacations, and in the next minute school is cancelled and you’re being told to “social isolate.” You’re overwhelmed, anxious, and uncertain of what’s to come to say the least; and you’re definitely not alone in those feelings.¬†


One of the major concerns I keep hearing from parents is “what the heck am I going to do with my kids?” It’s totally understandable if the idea of having to stay home leaves you feeling a little… or a lot overwhelmed. For many families, this may be the first time kids are all at home for an extended period of time without major travel plans or celebrations involved.


So I scoured the internet and found some pretty incredible resources to share with you to help you have fun as a family, take some extra stress off you, and provide some much needed distraction.

And hey, when the world gives you COVID-19, you could always turn it into a second Christmas!! Being stuck at home with your kids may not sound like a dream, but with a little perspective shift social isolation can easily be changed into a family, fun stay-cation (or at least we can try to pretend, right?!)

Let's plan your stay-cation!

It’s no secret that kids thrive with routine. But, and this is a BIG BUT….. if it takes you some time to carve out a new routine for your family that’s OK too!¬† And remember, you don’t need to plan every second of the day. You may want to have a few activities in your back pocket, so to speak, in case things start to go downhill fast.

So we’ve rounded up some incredible resources for you to access at your fingertips to make this stay-cation memorable in a good way!

Arts & Crafts

You don’t need to head out to a craft store and drop a ton of cash to be able to create fun, enticing things with your kids. But a little glitter, googly eyes, and paint never hurt either.

Here’s 50 + Quick and Easy Kids Crafts anyone can make, from Happiness is Homemade

More Indoor Fun

All crafted out? No problem. Put the glue and glitter away and check out 100+ ideas from The Best Ideas For Kids

Some of our families all time favourite indoor activities are:

  • Hide and seek
  • Lego building
  • Dinosaur imaginative play
  • Puzzles
  • Drawing, colouring, or painting
  • Building with blocks or Magniformers
  • Reading the same book a dozen times in a row
  • Obstacle courses with furniture
  • Building forts

Outdoor Fun

Nothing makes me happier than taking my kids outside. With social distancing being at the forefront of everyone’s mind, being outside has gotten slightly trickier but NOT IMPOSSIBLE!

The key to being outside is….. Stick with your family.

Play dates, a good ol’game of shinny with the neighbour kids is out. So what’s left? And where exactly can you go?

The good news is you can go pretty much anywhere you want (right now), so long as you’re trying to stay at least 6 feet away from other people. This means running, going for a bike ride or a stroll on a path isn’t out of the question.

Not interested in venturing that far out? No problem, check out these 50 Fun Things to Do Outside with Kids as a Family from Very Well Family.

Virtual field trips

So many INCREDIBLE places around that world have opened up virtual doors for us to explore from the comfort of our own home. Here’s a great link I found from Adventures in Familyhood that lists 20 different virtual tours.

Educational Apps, Websites & Print-Outs

This…. this is where things can get a little overwhelming, at least for me! So many resources exist online to help make learning fun and easy to access for kids of all ages.

Worried about limiting screen time? I hear ya! We’re not a huge screen time family, BUT you need to do what you need to do to get through each day.

So here they are a few links:

So many more options

This definitely isn’t an exhaustive list, but it’s a start. If you’ve been using any other resources, or you’ve created some yourself that you’d love to share we would be so grateful and thrilled to add them to our list!!

If you’ve found this helpful, please comment below AND share, share, share!!


Lacey Engel is a Registered Dietitian and owner of Beyond Baby Nutrition. She works with families of picky eaters to help them fix meal times for good. Lacey strongly believes that HOW
you deal with picky eating has HUGE and lasting impacts on how your kids eat for the rest of their life. There isn’t bad food, but there is a bad way to teach kids to learn to love and eat food. To learn how to help your kids develop a healthy relationship with food, visit


As a society, we are becoming more aware of our environmental foot print and are spending more energy on improving  waste management. When thinking of waste management a few method come to mind including: reusing, composting, upcycling and recycling. Many items that use to find their way in landfill can now avoid it. Some of these items include: vegetable peels,  batteries and bottles. This contributes to reducing garbage pollution. 

Paper is a significant portion of waste and it can be composted or recycled.   Paper is responsible for 16% of landfill waste. Recycling or composting are both an improvement on throwing paper away.  It is better to compost or recycle paper? 

First let’s define both processes.¬†


Composting helps put organic waste to an alternative use. Items that are usually composted include grass cuttings, shredded leaves, fruit and coffee grounds. These products are combined in specific proportion with water and air to start the  decomposition process. The compost that is formed is helpful in growing plants. 


Recycling is the manufacturing of products that could of been discarded in a landfill. Items are recycled by being converted into items that can be used again. 

Recycling and compositing each have pros and cons. Let’s examine each method to identify which is better overall.

  • bring paper material back in the production stream which reduces the need for new trees
  • recycling reduces the need to produce new paper. One piece of A4 paper requires on average¬†5 liters water to produce.¬†
  • recycling 1 ton of paper saves around 682.5 gallons of oil, 26,500 liters of water and 17 trees
  • recycling uses resources but less than to produce new paper
  • the process of recycling paper produces a lot of waste.¬†¬†
  • harmful chemicals are used in the recycling process
  • the recycling process pollutes water
  • encourage consumption of paper. Recycled paper may wrongfully appear to have minimal impacts on the environment.
  • composting instead of recycling paper could completely eliminate the resources needed to break it down and manufacture it back into fresh paper.
  • no recycling bins, no trucks to carry it to the recycling plant, no machinery or sludge or chemical processing agents. ¬†Just paper breaking down into its component parts and then fertilizing your garden next year, helping your tomatoes grow.
  • composting paper removes it from the paper production stream
  • on a large scale, composting paper rather than recycling it, may cause more harm than good.
Soiled paper

When paper is soiled in any way it cannot be recycled.  Examples of soiled paper include art project and pizza box. Including soiled paper may impact an entire batch of recycled paper. It is recommended to tear soiled paper in small pieces and to add it to compost pile.  

Make the Best Sugar Shack Feast

Sugar shack

You probably heard of sugar shacking, this mysterious springtime activity Canadians from Eastern provinces partake in every year. If you ever wondered what a Cabane à Sucre (sugar shack) is all about, what really happens at these festive gatherings, and how to experience it DIY, read on.

The romance and nostalgia of sugar shacks is unmistakable. Traditional feasts, wood fires, maple taffy on fresh snow, sleigh rides, and energetic folk music are woven into the fabric of a northeastern Canadian springtime.When the sugary sap begins to flow during le temps des sucres, friends and families head to their local sugar shack for a day of family-friendly activities and a feast of maple-soaked delicacies designed for sharing at long communal tables.

Did you know?

Cabane à sucre (sugar shack) is a small building built in a maple grove where maple products like maple syrup, maple butter and maple taffy are prepared.

Maple Taffy

Making your own maple taffy is super easy, fun and DELICIOUS!

What do I need?

  • maple syrup (about 1/2 cup for 4 people)
  • candy thermometer
  • metal spoon
  • pot
  • popscicle sticks
  • snow¬†


  1. Place the maple syrup in a pot on medium heat. Stirting constently with a metal spoon, bring to 238F.
  2. As soon as the maple syrup reaches 238F, remove from the heat Рthe syrup will be bubbly. 
  3. Spoon the hot syrup in lines on the snow. Using a popscicle stick, turn the taffy on the stick.

An Indigenous tradition lives on

Settlers observed Indigenous making maple sugar every spring that would be used to get them through the tough winter months. The sugar was then broken down into slices or shaved directly over dishes.

The sugar shacks and maple syrup are of great importance in the cultural identity of Canadiams, it is to the Indigenous. 

An Iroquois legend describes the piercing of maple bark and the use of its sweet sap to cook game, which is said to be at the origin of the culinary tradition of cooking with maple. Maple syrup is so central to traditions,¬† the Ojibway also call the sugar season “maple moon” or “sugar month”, since it lasts 4 to 6 weeks, from March to April.

In the 17th century, the French, who began to have permanent installations in North America, in turn began to collect maple water. 

The romance and nostalgia of sugar shacks is unmistakable. Traditional feasts, wood fires, maple taffy on fresh snow, sleigh rides, and energetic folk music are woven into the fabric of a northeastern Canadian springtime.When the sugary sap begins to flow during le temps des sucres, friends and families head to their local sugar shack for a day of family-friendly activities and a feast of maple-soaked delicacies designed for sharing at long communal tables.

Bring the cabane à sucre home

Come on a journey with us as we bring the cabane à sucre home with rich, indulgent sugar shack feast recipes.

Did you know?

Canada accounts for 72% of the globe’s maple syrup output. Qu√©bec produces 91% of Canadian maple syrup.

The traditional cabane √† sucre meal includes pea soup, thick-cut ham, sausage links, bacon, omelet, fried pork rinds called “oreilles de crisse,” roasted potatoes, pickles, pickled beets, baked beans, fresh-baked bread and, most importantly, lots of maple syrup.¬†

Maple syrup is central to sugar shack meals. It‚Äôs basically the law: Everything ‚ÄĒ we mean everything ‚ÄĒ on the table must be doused in sweet sticky maple syrup. That includes all the savoury items! Every dish either contains or is bathed in maple syrup: thick-cut ham, baked beans, sausages links, omelet, pancakes… Savoury dishes like: Pea soup and bacon rinds (colourfully known as oreilles de crisses) balance out this sweet extravagance. To cover your bases, you should probably stock up on a few bottles of maple syrup. Dessert is the pi√®ce de r√©sistance of this feast. Traditional desserts include maple sugar pie, pouding ch√īmeur ‚Äúpoor man‚Äôs pudding‚ÄĚ ‚ÄĒ a Depression-era sweet treat served warm and topped with vanilla ice cream. At the end of the meal, you always have a little room for maple taffy, poured warm on fresh snow.

Let’s break down the 3 main categories of food required for a truly traditional sugar shack meal.

Breakfast foods

Sugar shacks feature plates upon plates of everyone’s favourite breakfast foods.

Serve your guests the classics: 

Don’t forget to keep your guests happy with warm coffee and juices.

Salty foods

What goes better with sweet than salty? Nothing, that’s what! Supplement your breakfast spread with a few salty dishes. The traditional savoury dishes include:

The star of the show: Dessert

Sugar shack begins and ends with maple. Classic sugar shack desserts include:

La cr√®me de la cr√®me of any sugar shack experience is none-other than maple taffy ‚Äútire d‚Äô√©rable‚ÄĚ. Kids and adults go crazy for the sticky, chilled delight that is maple taffy. No worries, it‚Äôs a lot easier to make than it looks!

What to do other than eating?

Other than eating, what creates a traditional sugar shack experience? That answer is simple… music! Nothing brings us to the romantic world of traditional shacks like folklore Quebec music. We created a spotify playlist to share with you the joyful soul of the Cabane à sucre tradition.

In Québec, many sugar shacks offer horse sleigh rides to visit the property, walk or hike in the woods, traditional music and dancing, petting zoos and snowshoeing. 

When we host our sugar shack meals we love to go for a walk around Wascana lake and dancing to traditional music.

Did you know?

Canada produced 13.2 million gallons of maple syrup in 2019 which contributes $750 million to Canada’s GDP

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6 unexpected reasons you should eat breakfast

Breakfast is the meal most often skipped by Canadians. In a cross Canada study, the most common reason to skip it is the lack of time. 

Many under-estimate the value of a balanced breakfast. With the rapid rythm of life and the growing popularity of intermittent fasting, breakfast is often not given the attention it deserves or is completely skipped.

Most health professionals agree: Breakfast is foundational to a healthy lifestyle. 

Whole grains, protein, fruits and vegetables, and good fats are all components of a balanced breakfast. No one should face the day without a good balanced breakfast! Here are six reasons to fully enjoy breakfast every morning.

Breakfast is an easy meal that can be prepared and eaten in a few minutes and provide many hours of productivity.

6 unexpected reasons you should eat breakfast
1. Support brain health

Carbohydrates are essential for healthy brain functioning. A number of studies show kids who eat breakfast tend to have improved cognitive skills and perform better at school. Eating a balanced high-fiber breakfast, promotes memory and concentration levels, as well as improve mood and lower stress. Who doesn’t want that? There is no better time than breakfast time to replenish our carbohydrates. High-fiber carbohydrates are found in oats, whole grain bread and fruits.   

2. Support Healthy Weight

Sometimes we may be tempted to skip breakfast to avoid extra calories. Skipping breakfast to lose a few pounds is a bad idea. Eating breakfast tells our body that we are not in starvation mode and will eat again during the day. Breakfast gets our metabolism started and helps us burn more calories throughout the day.

Studies have shown that eating a high-fiber, nutrient-sense breakfast greatly decreases hunger and cravings throughout the day.There is a correlation between skipping breakfast and having difficulty maintaining a healthy weight Studies even show this correlation with children. Children who skip breakfast tend to have a higher body Mass Index (BMI) and are up to 200% more likely to be overweight than children who eat breakfast regularly.  Eating three balanced meals a day contributes to maintaining a healthy weight.  

3. Family time

We often discuss the importance of eating dinner as a family. Breakfast is also a wonderful opportunity to connect as a family around the table. Are you ready for your volley ball game? What are you excited for today? We can enjoy the early morning hours to connect and spend quality time with our family.  

Are you thinking you won’t have time? No excuses! Let’s set the alarm a few minutes early and create beautiful memories with our loved ones.¬†

4. Skip that 2 pm feeling

Skipping breakfast has significant impact on the quality of our day. Are you familiar with that 2 pm feeling? There a good chance you can notice a correlation between skipping or eating an unbalanced breakfast and the 2 pm feeling. 

Balanced breakfast are filled with fibers which contribute to stabilize blood sugar. Sugar drops cause a number of symptoms: difficulty concentrating, head aches, sugar cravings, and low patience.  Test it out! Tomorrow morning, treat yourself to a balanced breakfast and see how you feel throughout the day. 

5. Reduce snacking

The 2pm feeling is often associated with cravings. The lack of nutrient provided by a balanced breakfast always catches up with us.  By skipping breakfast, it is highly likely that you will have cravings for chips or cake during the afternoon or evening.

To prevent these cravings, ensure to have a balanced breakfast high in fiber and proteins. When you have a hectic morning, plan a super quick breakfast you can eat on your way to work or at your desk. An example of super quick breakfast is overnight oats. You make them a few days ahead to just grab it and go in the morning. You will find a FREE breakfast recipe pdf at the bottom of this blog which includes a number of overnight oat recipes. 

6. Develop healthy habits

Most health professional recommend to eat more fruits and vegetables. Breakfast is a good opportunity to add fruits and vegetables to our diet and to support a healthy life style.

When we have time to treat ourselves with a nice breakfast we can spend time with our loved ones preparing a more elaborated breakfast filled with vegetables and fruits. Some examples include: Omelettes, frittatas, blueberry pancakes, and breakfast burritos. 

FREE breakfast recipe book

Are you sick and tired of the 2pm feeling?

Do you want to optimize your productivity throughout the day?

We got your back! Here are super easy and quick breakfasts that can be assembled a few days ahead. These breakfasts are so easy and delicious you won’t even want to skip breakfast again. Download this FREE pdf to learn how easy your next breakfast can be.¬†

Happy breakfast!

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7 Easy Ways to Reduce Food Expenses

Food Price Spike in 2020

Canada’s Food Price Report¬† predicts food price spike in 2020!

7 Easy Ways to Reduce your Food Costs
1. Less restaurants

Restaurant food often comes with extra calories, too much fat, salt, aditives as well as¬†a deficience¬†in fiber and vitamins. As if that wasn’t enough to encourage you to cook more at home, eating out is very expensive and is becoming more expensive.¬† Menu prices in Canada rose 4.2% last year¬†and¬†are anticipated to increase up to¬†4%¬†in 2020! Spending at restaurants has increased by more than $670 per household between 2010 and 2017.

ZestyKits meal plans make it easy and convenient to cook at home as well as reduce your overall food cost.

2. Eat more plant based meals

The cost of meat products are anticipated to increase by up to 6% in 2020! Canadians spend nearly 20% of our food budget on red meat and chicken. Learning to prepare delicious plant based meals will significantly reduce your food costs.

A good plant based recipe has as much protein as a meal with meat and is filling! You won’t miss the meat and with delicious whole grains and legumes, you will feel full for hours. Some of our favourite plant-based meals include:

  • Ratatouille pasta:¬†Chickpea pasta tossed in a rich tomato sauce and oven roasted eggplant,¬†red bell peppers,¬†black olives and fresh basil
  • Mexi¬†bowls:¬†Black beans, diced avocado, romaine lettuce, diced tomatoes, salsa, brown rice and shredded cheddar topped with fresh cilantro.

ZestyKits offers a Clean Food plan which includes 1 meal plant based to help you discover new delicious plant based recipe. If you are ready to eat fully plant-based we also offer a Plant-Based and Vegan plan.

3. Make a meal plan

Making a plan is very important when it comes to managing grocery costs. Going around the grocery aisles aimelessly often results in frustration and poor food choices. Without a plan, it is common to buy too much food that will end up rotting in your fridge.

We love to plan our weekly menu using ZestyKits’ weekly menu. We plan to prepare ZestyKits meal kits during our busiest days.

4. Eat home-made meals more often

Make more meals from scratch.¬†Canada’s 2018¬†Dietary Guidelines¬†recommend cooking more to support health. Not only does cooking provide a number of health benefits, it saves you a lot of money!¬†Cooking from scratch requires a bit more time and the effort can be well woth it, both for your wallet and your waisline.

ZestyKits meal plans make it easy and convenient to cook at home and involve the kids in meal preparation, empowering you to easily make dinner time family time. 

5. Eat seasonal fruits & vegetables

Fruit and vegetables take up almost 24% of the average Canadian’s grocery list. To promote health, it is recommended to eat more vegetables. 

The secret to eating more vegetables and still manage cost is to buy more fruits and vegetables that are in season. Load up on local fruits and vegetables when they are in season and freeze them for later use. 

During the winter, fresh produces increase significantly in price. To reduce your grocery bill, load up on frozen produces, which have similar nutritional value and are alot more affordable. 

Not only does ZestyKits offer tons of seasonal products, we purchase ingredients grown or prepared right here… in the Canadian Prairies!

6. Reduce food waste

Purchase only what you need to decrease your food waste as well as your carbon footprint. Reducing food waste is easy when planning meals and using a locally sourced meal kit service like ZestyKits. 

7. Don't shop hungry

Hunger creates a desire to aquire. Research shows that shopping hungry results in spending increase of 64%. Shopping hungry increases spending even when not shopping for food. To reduce your risk of over spending, have a snack before shopping to stabilize your blood sugar.

Having 3 delicious ZestyKits meals delivered every week prevents last minute hungry grocery run – saving you time and money.

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Top 5 wine pairings

Nothing brings people together like good food & wine

We believe that every part food should be appreciated. From cutting vegetables to sitting down and eating, every part makes the experience of living more special. Our senses are a gift, let’s enjoy the aromas, the sounds of vegetables cooking. Wines helps add a little more love in every dish you create. Because every meal is an opportunity to fall in love.

Now for the fun part... Wine picking

Each ZestyKits wine are hand picked based on these principles:

‚¶Ā Availability: Available at most SLGA
‚¶Ā Affordability: priced under $25 at the SLGA
‚¶Ā Flavour profile: Flavour of wine goes well with the dish
‚¶Ā Support local: Include Canadian and Saskatchewan wine

5 characteristics of wine

Wine is defined by 5 characteristic: sweetness, acidity, tannin, alcohol, and body


A wine is sweet when there is more sugar in the grapes than needed for alcohol to ferment. This is called residual sugar. Wine sweetness is measured in a range of bone-dry, the unsweet wine, to very sweet, the sweetest wine you’ll ever have.

Sweetness of wine is also affected by the level of acidity. When wine is less acid, it taste sweeter. The dryer a wine is, the less calories it has.


The acidity of wine comes from the grapes and gives it the sour flavor. Grapes loses their acidity as they ripen, and therefore wine that is made in a cooler climate has higher acidity.


Tannin is found in the skin of the grapes and in the new wooden barrels. It is only found in red wine because the skin is removed for white wines. Tannin is the texture of the wine. You’ll recognise a wine with high tannin by the dry and pucker sensation it leaves on your tongue. High tannin wines are great to serve with food because it is palate cleansers to rich, fatty meats; cheeses; and pasta dishes.


Wine is made when the yeast converts the sugar of grapes into ethanol. Alcohol plays an important role in the transfer of the wines aroma. You can measure the alcohol in wine in a reach from low, less than 10% alcohol, to high, over 15% alcohol.


The body of wine is shaped by the sweetness, acidity, tannin & alcohol level. When you talk about the body, you are talking about how bold or light the wine is.
A wine is lighter when it is more acid, low alcohol, less tannin and less sweet. A wine that is bold will have less acidity, higher alcohol, more tannin and is sweeter.

ZestyKits Top 5 Wines

1. Living Sky Winery Rhubarb

Wine description

  • Region: Saskatchewan, Perdue
  • Colour: White
  • Price: $23.30
  • Alcohol: 12.7%

Wine flavour: Fruit Wine

  • Body: Average
  • Acidity: Low
  • Sweetness: Sweet
  • Alcohol: Medium
  • Serve: Cold
  • Description: Mellow earthy rhubarb with a delightfully light, lemony touch.



Herbs & Spices

Fruits & Vegetables



2. Pelee Island Gewurztraminer

Wine description

  • Region: Ontario, Kingsville
  • Colour: White
  • Price: $12.99
  • Alcohol: 12.5%

Wine flavour: Aromatic White

  • Body: Average
  • Acidity: Low
  • Sweetness: Medium dry
  • Alcohol: Medium
  • Serve: Cold
  • Description: Pale straw/yellow colour; floral, ripe peach, honey and lychee fruit aromas; off-dry, light to medium bodied, softly structured with balanced acidity, flavours of honeysuckle, rose water, pear, citrus and lychee; hints of spice on the finish.

Aromatic white wines include these varieties

  • Chenin blanc
  • Gewurztraminer
  • Muscat blanc
  • Riesling
  • Torrontes

Aromatic white wines have highly perfumed and sweet-fruit aromas but can range from dry to sweet in taste. They are ideal pairing with Asian and Indian cuisine because they match so well with sweet-and-sour flavors and quench spicy sauces.

This wine pairs well with: spicy cuisines, Indian, Thai, Chinese and Vietnamese cuisine.



Herbs & Spices

Fruits & Vegetables



3. Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Noir Rose

Wine description

  • Region: Chile, Pirque
  • Colour: Rose
  • Price: $11.22
  • Alcohol: 13%

Wine flavour: Rose

  • Body: Average
  • Acidity: Average
  • Sweetness: Sweet
  • Alcohol: Medium
  • Serve: Cold
  • Description: Pale salmon colour; pomegranate and cranberry nose with light floral notes; juicy, sweet cherry flavours followed with a fresh finish.

Rosé wine is produced when red grape skins macerate in their juices for period of time. Rosé is produced in every major country and is made of nearly every grape variety, both red and white. Rosé wines range in taste from dry to sweet.


Herbs & Spices

Fruits & Vegetables



4. Heritage Road Bloodstone Shiraz

Heritage Road Bloodstone Shiraz is a Saskatchewan favourite wine. Read more about it here.

Wine description

  • Region: Australia
  • Colour: Red
  • Price: $14.49
  • Alcohol: 12%

Wine flavour: Full-bodied red

  • Body: Full
  • Tannin: Light
  • Acidity: Average
  • Sweetness: Dry
  • Alcohol: Medium-high
  • Serve: Room temperature
  • Description: A cherry and raspberry fruitiness with a hint of spicy shiraz combined with light tannins.

Full-bodied red wines include these varieties

  • Aglianico
  • Bordeaux blend
  • Cabernet sauvignon
  • Malbec
  • Mourvedre
  • Nebbiolo
  • Negro d‚Äôavola
  • Petit verdot
  • Petite sirah
  • Pinotage
  • Syrah
  • Tempranillo
  • Touriga nacional

Full-bodied red wines typically have high tannin, opaque ruby color from high anthocyanin content, and rich fruit flavors. Wines that are bold such as these can be enjoyed on their own or with equally bold-flavored foods.

This wine pairs well with: South american, Eastern European, German and Mexican cuisine.


Herbs & Spices

Fruits & Vegetables



5. Buried Hope Cabernet Sauvignon

Wine description

  • Region: California
  • Colour: Red
  • Price: $15.47
  • Alcohol: 14.5%

Wine flavour: Full-bodied red

  • Body: Full
  • Tannin: Astringent
  • Acidity: Average
  • Sweetness:Very Dry
  • Alcohol: Medium-high
  • Serve: Room temperature
  • Description:Deep garnet colour; intense aromas and flavours of cassis, blackberry fruit, oak, chocolate and vanilla; ripe, soft and juicy on the palate.

Full-bodied red wines include these varieties

  • Aglianico
  • Bordeaux blend
  • Cabernet sauvignon
  • Malbec
  • Mourvedre
  • Nebbiolo
  • Negro d‚Äôavola
  • Petit verdot
  • Petite sirah
  • Pinotage
  • Syrah
  • Tempranillo
  • Touriga nacional

Full-bodied red wines typically have high tannin, opaque ruby color from high anthocyanin content, and rich fruit flavors. Wines that are bold such as these can be enjoyed on their own or with equally bold-flavored foods.


Herbs & Spices

Fruits & Vegetables



Tips to easily follow the Canada Food Guide 3 Guidelines

The Canadian food guide outlines 3 guidelines. 

– Guideline 1: Foundation for healthy eating
– Guideline 2: Foods and beverages that undermine healthy eating
– Guideline 3: Importance of food skills

We will go over these guidelines and provide some tips to implement these guidelines in daily life.

Guideline 1: Foundation for healthy eating

Nutritious foods are the foundation for healthy eating. Nutritious foods includes, but is not limited to:

– Vegetables
– Fruits
– Whole grains
– Protein foods

Plant-based protein

Plant-based protein positively contributes to health and the environment. The guide recommends consuming plant-based protein more often. Plant-based protein includes: legumes, nuts, seeds, tofu. Other recommended source of protein include: fish, shellfish, eggs, poultry, lean red meat including wild game, lower fat milk, lower fat yogurts, lower fat kefir, and cheeses lower in fat and sodium. Plant-based protein have significant positive impact on health and on the environment. Research suggests that plant-based foods, which in rich in fiber, decrease cardiovascular disease risk, colon cancer and type 2 diabetes.

Tip: When using plant-based protein, meals can be planned around flavour profiles rather than protein. For example, Greek flavours include: lemon, black olives, oregano, tomatoes and cucumber. An easy plant-based Greek dish could be a quinoa bowl with Greek spice marinated chickpeas, spinach, lemon juice, tomatoes, cucumbers and black olives. 

Limit saturated fats & increase unsaturated fats

Limit saturated fats and increase unsaturated fats. Saturated fats should be limited and should be replaced by unsaturated fat foods. Examples of foods high in saturated fat includes fatty red meat, processed meats, fired foods and high fat cheeses. Saturated fats are usually present in meat while unsaturated fats are usually present in vegetarian foods. Examples of food high in unsaturated fat “good fats” includes: avocado, nuts, olives and fish. Research suggests unsaturated fats have a positive effect on overall heath as they lower risk of vascular disease, heart disease, and stroke.

Tip: To easily reduce saturated fats from dishes try reducing or eliminating cheese from dishes and replacing it with nuts or avocado. For example, you can replace the cheese in a sandwich or a burger by avocado.

Water is foundational to life

The human body is 75% water! Water is recommended as the beverage of choice. Water supports health and promote hydration without adding calories. Dinking adequate amounts of water is essential for metabolic and digestive processes. Impacts of dehydration are vast and include: constipation, weight gain, high cholesterol, fatigue, head ache, and high blood pressure. Drink up!  It can be difficult to drink enough water throughout the day. 

Tip: to increase your water intake try adding flavours to your water (e.g. cucumber slices, lemon or lime wedges), carrying a water bottle with you throughout the day and having a cool glass of water as soon as you wake up.

Healthy eating is more than food!

Food is an integral part of all social interactions, celebrations, cultures and family tradition. To make healthy eating a lifestyle, it is essential to enjoy your food. Nutritious foods should reflect your taste and preferences as well as your food traditions. Eating together reinforces these positive eating habits and supports a healthy relationship with food. Cooking and eating together is a fun way to connect with friends, family and to foster connections between generations and cultures. 

Tip: Organizing potlucks with friends and family or baking night with kids are fun and easy ways to spend quality time together and sustain a healthy relationship with food.

Guideline 2: Foods and beverages that undermine healthy eating

Processed foods and beverages are likely to negatively impact health as they often result in excess sodium, free sugars and/or saturated fat. It is important to understand that it is the way we eat the majority of the time that has the most impact on our health.

Free sugars

Free sugars are defined as being added to foods and beverages and do not include the naturally occurring sources of sugars found in intact or cut fruits and vegetables. Free sugars are found in a variety of products such as: sugary drinks, condiments, sugary breakfast cereals, confectioneries and other processed foods. The Canadian foods guide recommends consuming less than 10% of total energy intake from free sugars.

High sodium

High sodium intake is associated with higher blood pressure which is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. High amount of sodium is often found in cheeses, processed meats, dips and condiments. The Canadian foods guide recommends consuming less than 2300 mg of sodium per day.

Saturated fats

Lowering intakes of foods that contain mostly saturated fat, by replacing with foods that contain mostly unsaturated fat, helps lower cardiovascular risk factors.

Saturated fats are found in animal-based foods such as cream, butter, cheeses, and fatty meats as well as some vegetable oils. The Canadian foods guide recommends consuming less than 10% of total energy intake from saturated fats.

Tip: Cooking at home using whole ingredients is a way to reduce intake of free sugars, sodium and saturated fats. You can reduce free sugar, sodium and saturated fats by using fresh herbs, garlic, lemon and lime zest, non-sodium added spice blends and essential oils. For example, instead of frying fish with batter and fries you can garnish fish with lemon zest and garlic, serve with fresh dill, oven roasted potatoes and steamed broccoli.

Guideline 3: Importance of food skills

Highly processed foods have become the easy choice in our food environment.  Food skills are essential to navigate the food environment and support healthy eating.  Food skills include the ability and knowledge to understand food labels, the ability to assess ripeness of vegetables and fruits, skills to plan meals within budget as well as technical skills to prepare meals. 

Food skills can be taught, learned and shared. At ZestyKits we believe food skills are fundamental to a healthy lifestyle. Our meal kits provide pre-measured fresh ingredients, recipes with illustrated instructions and ripe vegetables and fruits. As such, ZestyKits meal kits are a teaching tool, prevent food waste and are a time saver.