Grocery Shopping Tips

Shopping for food can be hard sometimes. What to buy? How much? What are the costs? Are these foods nutritious and delicious? Read through the following tips from our Registered Dietitian to help you make the decisions that are right for you and those you are feeding.

Before you shop:

The best thing to do is plan your shop before you go. Check the fridge, the freezer if you have one, and your pantry supplies to see what needs to be used up and what you are missing. Reducing food waste by using food before it goes bad is the best way to save money and also support our planet. Plan meals or snacks around the food that needs to get used by planning for favourite recipes or searching for new ones to try (hint: the Appetite to Play website is a great place to search!). Then be sure to make a list!

Here are some other tips to shop well:

  • Vegetables and fruit. Canada’s Food Guide recommends we eat plenty of vegetables and fruit, approximately half our plate at each meal or snack. This means half of our grocery cart should be made up of fresh, frozen or canned fruit and veggies. When choosing canned or frozen, pick ones with no added sodium, sugar, breading or sauces. Look for sales in the produce department and try to buy items that do not go bad as quickly, like apples, oranges, cabbage, potatoes, carrots, beets, squash and cauliflower.
  • Pantry staples. Nutritious meals can come together quickly when you have simple staples in your pantry like canned beans, fish, and tomatoes, dried pasta and other whole grains like brown rice, oats and bulgur, as well as seeds, nuts and nut butters. Stock up when they are on sale, as these foods last a long time, and choose items with little added sodium. Store nuts and seeds in the fridge or freezer so they last longer. Nuts, seeds, beans, peas and lentils are plant-based proteins we should be eating more often  for our health and that of our planet.
  • Meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy foods. Choose lower fat dairy products and leaner cuts of meat and poultry to reduce saturated fat. However with fish, fatty fish, like salmon, trout and sardines, are very nutritious and contain important, unsaturated, omega 3 fats. Eggs are a very affordable and sustainable protein choice.
  • Snack foods and drinks. The center aisles of the store contain thousands of products that are marketed to us with colourful packaging and appealing messages. Although some can be nutritious, many contain a lot of saturated fat, sodium and sugar which are not optimal for our health. As well, they may be low in important nutrients like fibre, vitamin and minerals. Stick to minimally processed foods most often and read labels if you are choosing these products.

For more ideas and resources

HealthLink BC has many great resources for planning and shopping here.