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
- pita bread
- dinner rolls
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)
CANNED FISH & POULTRY
CANNED BEANS & LENTILS Tip: Rinse beans under water before eating.
- Baked beans
- 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
FRESH VEGETABLES Tip: Store in a dark cool place.
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
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
- Balsamic vinegar
- Pepper, hot sauce
On the Counter Tip: Always keep fruit on the counter. Just wash and eat!
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
- < 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
- Nuts and seeds
Deli Meats & Meat Alternatives
- Roast chicken
- Roast turkey
- Ham slices
- Firm/soft tofu
- Veggie ground round
- 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.
- 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.
- Mixed vegetables
Bread Tip: Read label for “whole wheat” or “whole sprouted wheat” and > 3g fibre per slice.
- 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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