Grocery Shopping Tips

Fruits and Vegetables (5+ servings/day)

  • Plain frozen vegetables and low sodium canned vegetables are good alternatives to fresh vegetables.
  • Choose dark green and yellow-orange vegetables.
  • Fruit canned in juice is a good alternative to fresh fruits.
  • Dried fruit is another choice that travels well.
  • Look for produce on sale or in-season.
  • Choose fruit instead of fruit juice more often.
  • Choose 100% fruit juice instead of fruit “drinks” or “beverages”.
  • Pop and iced teas both have carbohydrates, but no vitamins or fibre.
  • Diet pop has no carbohydrate or vitamins and is artificially sweetened.

Grain Products (5+ servings daily)

  • On bread labels, check the ingredient list for the words “whole wheat” or “whole grain”.
  • Check the Nutrition Facts to see if there is >3g fibre per serving.
  • Limit nutrient-poor products like croissants, muffins, doughnuts, and cakes.
  • Store extra breads in the freezer for freshness.
  • Good brands include Healthy Way and Silver Hills Bakery.
  • Crackers – Best Bites have at least 2g fibre/30g serving and have the words “whole grain” in the ingredient list.
  • Avoid crackers with trans fats or “hydrogenated” oils or “shortening” in the ingredient list.
  • Crackers should not leave a greasy film on your fingers.
  • Good choices: Wasa, Ryvita, Triscuits, Melba Toast, corn, and rice cakes.
  • On cereal boxes, check the label for at least 3g of fibre per serving and less than 3g of fat per serving
  • Mix high fibre cereals (>6g fibre/serving) with other cereals.
  • Choose whole wheat pasta, brown rice, and wild rice for more fibre
  • Bars – Check the label for <3g fat per bar, for example – Nature Valley and Nutrigrain.
  • Graham crackers, fig & fruit bars, sesame snaps are high carb, low fat choices.
  • Limit high fat snacks such as chips, cheezies and party mixes.
  • Baked taco chips, baked potato chips, and pretzels are acceptable alternates.
  • Chocolate bars are high in fat and sugar and contain no vitamins.
  • Candies are low in fat and high in carbs, but do not provide vitamins, minerals or fibre.

 Meat and Alternatives (2-4 servings daily)

  • Choose lean cuts – round steak, sirloin tip, ham, and pork loin chops.
  • Remove skin from chicken, try ground turkey instead of beef.
  • Fresh or frozen fish fillets, frozen pre-cooked shrimp, and tuna are options.
  • Stir fry, bake, broil or grill your meats.
  • Buy lean deli meats such as ham, roast beef, roast chicken and turkey, buy 100-200g at a time, this will make 3-4 sandwiches.
  • Buy value packs and freeze single portions in Ziplock bags; add barbeque sauce and then defrost overnight and let marinate all day.
  • Eggs can be used for quick meals. Born 3 Eggs provide omega 3 fats.
  • Beans and lentils are low in fat, great source of fibre, and also provide carbs.
  • Peanut butter, nuts, and seeds are high in healthy fats, use in moderation.

Milk and Alternates (3-6 servings)

  • Look for the % milk fat (MF) on the label and choose products with less than 2% MF.
  • When buying cheese, look for less than 22% MF; try partly skimmed mozzarella.
  • Buy non fat sour cream and “light” ice cream.
  • Calcium-fortified orange juice instead of milk provides calcium and carbs.
  • Check the labels of soy beverages to ensure they are fortified with calcium and vitamin D.

Fats and Oils (use in moderation)

  • All fats and oils are high in calories e.g. 1 tsp of oil = 36 cal versus 1 tsp sugar = 16 calories.
  • Buy non-hydrogenated margarine.
  • Beware of products that say “no cholesterol” this does not mean low fat.
  • Use vegetable oils, avocado, olives, and nuts & seeds as main sources of fat.
  • Choose light salad dressings or make your own with vinegar, canola oil, salt and pepper.

Convenience Foods  (limit use)

  • Frozen dinners: There are many “light” entrees which are low in fat, check the labels for < 15% DV for fat or < 3g fat per 100 cal. Likely need to add milk, vegetables or grains. Expensive for what you get.
  • Frozen pies, pizzas, and pockets are generally “sometimes” meal choices.
  • Choose low sodium soups, sauces, and other products when possible.
  • Tomato based sauces are lower in fat than cream sauces.

In the Cupboard

BREAD: Tips – Read label for "whole wheat" or "whole sprouted wheat" and >3gm fiber per slice

  • bread
  • pita bread
  • dinner rolls
  • bagels
  • tortillas

CEREALS Tip: Read label for < 2g fat, < 10 grams sugar & > 4g fibre per serving.

  • Cold, ready to eat
  • Quick rolled oats
  • Cream of wheat


  • Brown rice
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Whole wheat flour
  • Oat bran (put on cereal)
  • Couscous


  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Clams
  • Chicken
  • Crab
  • Shrimp

CANNED BEANS & LENTILS Tip: Rinse beans under water before eating.

  • Baked beans
  • Chili
  • Chickpeas
  • Black beans
  • Kidney beans
  • Lentil soup

CANNED FRUITS & VEGETABLES Tip: Read label for no added salt. Choose fruits packed in juice.

  • Pears, peaches, pineapple, orange sections
  • Fruit energybars
  • Dried fruit (raisins, dates, cranberries, apricots)
  • Peas, beans
  • Tomatoes, mushrooms
  • Corn

FRESH VEGETABLES Tip: Store in a dark cool place.

  • Potatoes
  • Onions
  • Garlic

SNACK FOODS Tip: Look for a short, easy to read ingredient list.

  • Natural popcorn
  • Baked taco chips
  • Wasa Crispbread
  • Roasted soy nuts
  • Corn or rice cakes
  • Ryvita

OTHER FOODS Tip: Choose low sodium soups and sauces.

  • Pasta sauce
  • Natural peanut butter or almond butter
  • Jam, jelly, marmalade, honey, sugar
  • Vegetable & meat soups
  • Soy sauce
  • Dried basil, oregano, cumin, thyme
  • Salsa
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Pepper, hot sauce

 On the Counter Tip: Always keep fruit on the counter. Just wash and eat!

  • Bananas
  • Melons
  • Apples
  • Tomatoes
  • Mangos
  • Nectarines
  • Pears
  • Oranges 

In the Fridge

DAIRY Tip: Choose 1% or skim milk, look at the % M.F./B.F. (milk or butter fat) on labels.

  • Dairy or soy milk
  • Parmesan
  • < 2% M.F. yogurt
  • < 25% M.F. cheese (light)
  • 1% cottage cheese
  • Light sour cream
  • Eggs Tip: Buy eggs high in omega-3 fatty acids. Whole, fresh – Born 3 eggs, Omega Pro egg whites


  • Non-hydrogenated margarine
  • Light vinaigrette salad dressing
  • Oil – canola, olive, soybean, flaxseed
  • Canned olives
  • Avocado
  • Nuts and seeds

Deli Meats & Meat Alternatives

  • Roast chicken
  • Roast turkey
  • Ham slices
  • Firm/soft tofu
  • Veggie ground round
  • Hummus
  • Bean salad
  • Soy burgers

FRESH FRUITS & VEGETABLES Tip: Buy enough fruit and vegetables for at least 5 servings per day. Take into account any frozen or canned products you have stocked.

  • Berries
  • Kiwi
  • Grapes
  • Pears
  • Apples
  • Celery
  • Mushrooms
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Snow peas
  • Sweet peppers
  • Baby carrots
  • Romaine lettuce
  • 100% real fruit juice
  • Bagged salad
  • Pre-chopped stir fry veggies

In the Freezer

Fruits & Vegetables Tip: Buy small-medium bags to avoid freezer burn.

  • Berries
  • Peas
  • Carrots
  • Corn
  • Mixed vegetables
  • Beans

Bread Tip: Read label for “whole wheat” or “whole sprouted wheat” and  > 3g  fibre per slice.

  • Bread
  • Soft tortillas
  • Pita bread
  • English muffins

Meat & Alternates Tip: Buy small portions or value-packs and separate into Ziploc freezer bags as smaller portions. One serving = 50-100 grams or palm size.

  • Salmon or tuna fillet
  • Pork chops
  • Veggie dogs
  • Chicken breasts
  • Fish (sole, bass, snapper)
  • Pre-cooked shrimp
  • Lean, round

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