Pork is still "relatively affordable." Kale seems to be getting more and more expensive. 

But celery, lettuce and beef? All out of the question.

Those are some of the tough decisions Gail Chaisson has had to make lately buying groceries for her family.

"Food is life. Food is health. It's culture. It's family. It means a lot of things," said Chaisson Thursday on Ottawa Morning, as she shared some of her grocery-buying strategies with the CBC's Hallie Cotnam.

"But when it comes to rising prices, it means I have to pick and choose. I have to spend more time finding food that's more affordable."

Food prices across Canada have skyrocketed in recent months, pushing the cost of living up 1.6 per cent in December.

Food bank and coupons

Chaisson, 32, is the co-chair of the Carlington chapter of ACORN Canada, and she lives in an apartment with her father, sister and 16-month-old niece.

She's also on the Ontario Disability Support Program, or ODSP, and as a result uses the Ottawa Food Bank twice a month and scours flyers for bargains and coupons.

The family's staples are carrots, onions, potatoes and "whatever meat we can afford," she said.

"I always have in my mind what's at home, what I need, what I can get elsewhere," said Chaisson.

"I have actually had to take away items [at the checkout counter] because my debit card gets declined. The first few times it's embarrassing, but then after a while you sort of get used to it."