Navigating the Grocery Store: Part 3

Each year, packaged food companies work to improve the nutritional profile of more and more packaged foods as consume demand for healthier foods continues to grow.

While it’s still recommended that you do the majority of your shopping around the perimeter of the grocery store (where fresh produce, meats, fish and dairy products are usually found), there is an increasing variety of healthy options in the centre aisles.

Whether you’re shopping around the store perimeter or in an aisle, use the tips in this 3 part blog series to help navigate the grocery store and make healthy – and budget friendly – food choices.

Starches and Grain Products

Choose whole grain breads as often as possible. These have more nutrients, including fibre. They tend to be more expensive, so try to stock up when on sale – breads can be kept in the freezer for up to two months.

Buy plain pastas and rice. Those with pre-seasonings or dry seasoning packages tend to be high in sodium and preservatives.

Try other grains such as couscous, quinoa and bulgur. These are highly nutritious and add variety. Most can be used as a substitute for rice.

Choose unsweetened hot cereals in larger packages. Individual packets are high in sugar and/or sodium – and they tend to be more expensive. To sweeten hot cereals, try adding a touch of brown sugar and berries.

Buy cold cereals that are lower in sugar. A general rule to follow is to look for items that have less than 5 g of sugar per serving.

Meats and Alternatives

Limit sliced meats and deli meats. They tend to be high in sodium. It is healthier – and more economical – to cook a roast or whole chicken and slice it up for sandwiches.

Buy fresh or frozen plain meats, poultry and fish. Pre-seasoned or marinated products tend to be high in sodium and often contain preservatives – and they’re usually more expensive.

Buy canned fish packed in water for sandwiches, salads and fish cakes.

Include meat alternatives such as eggs, dry beans, lentils and peas, hummus and other bean dips, plain nuts and seeds, and nut and seed butters. These are great nutrient-packed choices – and they tend to be less expensive than meats.

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