Eat before you go! If you shop on an empty stomach, you'll be more likely to make impulse purchases that may not be healthy for you or your budget.
Make a list:
The less stressed your shopping is, the more likely you are to stick to your list of healthy purchases. Get to know your local store or supermarket so you can shop at a time that’s low-traffic. Late mornings and early afternoons are a good bet to avoid getting gridlocked with other shoppers. Also, try to avoid shopping the day before a holiday – the traffic in the stores can be brutal!
Know Your Aisles:
The healthiest foods such as fresh produce, poultry, meat and dairy products are usually placed around the store’s outside aisles. You’ll find cleaning products, canned goods, cereals and snacks in the middle aisles.
Beware of special product displays in the outside aisles, especially near the store entrance. These displays are there to tempt you into buying items not on your list. If it’s not on your list, skip it!
Choose a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables: look for items that are firm and do not have too many spots or blemishes. Beware of mold, especially on berries and on produce that is packed together in small boxes, and avoid potatoes that have a greenish tint to their skins.
Colourful fruits and vegetables contain the most antioxidants and there are so many to choose from. Adding a new vegetable or fruit to your diet can be fun and nutritious!
Don’t go overboard: get only the amount of fresh produce that you’ll be likely to eat or cook before it starts to spoil. If you can't find the fresh produce you need, or if you need to store your fruits and vegetables for a longer time, go with frozen fruits and vegetables. Frozen foods retain nutrients better than canned varieties, which can be high in sodium.
Choose fish that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, trout and mackerel. Fish should smell fresh and have firm flesh.
There are a lot of choices available when shopping for meat and poultry. You can choose to buy fresh, raw poultry and meat or frozen boxed meats and poultry. Fresh, raw meat and poultry has no added ingredients unless the label indicates that it does.
You might see a label that says "seasoned" on it. "Seasoned" means that a sodium solution has been added to the meat to make it more tender. You can tell how much seasoning is added by looking at the protein content on the package and comparing it to a 100 gram serving of roasted chicken breast which has 33g of protein. The lower the protein count the more seasoned the meat is.
You can be a link in the safety chain by double-bagging your fresh meat purchases. Before you go to the fresh meat department, snag a few clear plastic bags from the produce department. Put each selection of meat into its own bag to be sure there will be no cross contamination from the raw meat and the rest of your grocery items.
- Different cuts of chicken are better suited for different types of meals.
- If the recipe calls for a long period of cooking then it would be best to use chicken with the bone.
- Curries and quick casseroles are better when cooked with dark meat like boneless, skinless thighs.
- Grilled salads are perfect for skinless, boneless breasts.
- Why not try adding ground chicken to your favourite spaghetti sauce or chili?
Dark meat does have slightly more fat than breast meat, but it also contains more iron. Dark meat cuts also tend to be less expensive due to the high demand for breast meat.
The best way to tell if meat is fresh is to check the best before date on the package. An uncooked whole chicken or parts can be safely stored in the fridge for 2 to 3 days. Raw ground chicken will last up to 2 days in the fridge and cooked chicken can be kept up to 4 days.
If you don't think you will cook the chicken by that time, put it in the freezer.
Chickens raised in Canada for meat consumption are all grain-fed. They are raised in clean, climate-controlled barns where they are free to roam, eat and drink as they wish. In 1998, Canada's chicken farmers implemented an on-farm food safety program, which is recognized by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and includes, farm audits, thorough cleaning of the barn before and after each flock, strict record keeping and quality control measures. Chicken is raised in each province in Canada.
Choose 100 percent whole-grain breads over white breads made with refined flours.
If you find that your bread goes stale before you finish it, consider buying whole-grain rolls, bagels, or demi-baguettes (half-loaves) instead, or freezing your bread and thawing slices as you need them.
Avoid high-fat and high-sugar snacks. Choose whole grain crackers or baked snacks. Drink more water, juice, or milk. If you don't like the taste of water, or find that it gets boring, consider adding some lime or lemon juice or a small amount of pure fruit juice. Sometimes, consider adding a few pieces of fresh or frozen fruit to your water. If you're buying carbonated water for variety, watch the sodium count.
You'll find other sources of protein in the middle aisles like canned and dried beans, nuts, nut butters and seeds, which make great staples to keep around your home.
Soups, rice, pasta and other items can also be found in the middle aisles. Try to choose brown rice and pastas over white or refined products. Also, try to choose soups with more fibre and less sodium with more vegetables per serving.