Grocery shopping can be daunting, especially if you’re not sure what you feel like cooking for the week. Below, Dr. Ali Ghahary shares some tips on how to make grocery shopping easier and healthier.
The first rule of thumb when it comes to grocery shopping is to always plan ahead! If you walk into a grocery store not knowing what you want to buy, you’re less likely to choose healthier options and go for things that are quick and require little preparation (i.e. microwave dinners, etc.) The best way to pre-plan your trip to the grocery store is to make a list. If there’s a specific meal you intend on making, write down the ingredients. Also make sure your list includes things like fruits and vegetables. One great way to help you write a grocery list is to take a look at Canada’s Food Guide for a general idea of which foods you need in order to promote good health and how many servings you should be consuming.
Secondly, never go shopping for groceries on an empty stomach or while you’re hungry. If you do this, you’re more likely to impulse shop and buy junk food (i.e. potato chips, chocolate, etc.), which obviously isn’t healthy.
If you go tend to buy the same foods when you’re grocery shopping, switch things up and be adventurous. For example, if you always buy strawberries and bananas, try blueberries and oranges. If you always get 2% milk, try soy or almond milk. Or if you always buy potatoes, get yams instead. Compared to potatoes, yams are higher in fibre, vitamin B, and also have a lower glycemic index meaning they won’t raise your blood sugar levels as much – which is important to know if you’re diabetic. Buying organic foods, while a bit pricier, is also much healthier as they contain fewer pesticides.
If you love pasta, choose types that are gluten free, whole wheat, or made with quinoa. White pasta is high in carbohydrates, which is something you’ll want to avoid if you’re aiming to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. Similarly, you’ll also want to choose less processed breads and cereals. The more fibre and the less sugar in cereal, the better. There are also many whole grain bread options available, and it’s something you can also easily make at home with a bread maker and a few simple ingredients.
You should also include things like meat, fish and poultry in your diet at least twice a week. Salmon is a particularly healthy choice as it’s high in omega-3 fatty acids, and is great for those with inflammatory conditions, depression, brain function, and also improves cardiovascular health. When choosing meat, make sure it’s lean as well as skinless.
Also don’t be shy about frozen or canned foods, as they can contain just as many nutrients as those that aren’t. However, canned fruits can sometimes contain sugar, so you’ll want to pay close attention to the nutritional labels.