Eating well during the week starts with what you put in your shopping trolley.
Here are our Dietitian-approved healthy grocery shopping tips to keep you on track!
- Make a shopping list. Think about what you are going to eat at each meal in the coming week and write down what you will need. If you have an action plan in place, it’s less likely you’ll find yourself wandering through the snack isle or purchasing more than you need. This will help you avoid the temptation altogether.
- As a golden rule, don’t go shopping on an empty stomach. If you’re feeling peckish beforehand grab a small snack to keep you fueled throughout your healthy grocery shopping trip.
- Stick to the perimeter of the store. This is healthy grocery shopping 101! Why? Because this is where the fresh, wholefood produce is kept – fruit, veg, meat, seafood and dairy. Ready-to eat foods found in the middle aisles of the store tend to contain a higher amount of fat and sodium.
- Choose minimally processed foods. Look at the nutrition information panel and choose products with the shortest ingredients list – the less additives and preservatives the better! If salt or sugar is listed as one of the first three ingredients that is an indicator to steer clear. If there are no ingredients listed on the pack this means that what you see is what you get – the product contains purely (100%) one ingredient/food.
- Purchase fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables. Canned and pickled vegetables are typically high in salt. Fruit canned in syrup contains added sugar. Despite popular belief, the nutritional content of frozen fruit and vegetables is comparable to fresh. The produce is picked at its prime and then frozen, maintaining the majority of its nutrients. Frozen varieties are a healthy and convenient option for those nights of the week when you are energy and time poor.
- Home brand products are often just as nutritious as other branded products – and cheaper! While it may be worth paying a little extra if you prefer the taste or convenience (resealable bags etc.) of a certain brand there isn’t typically a large nutritional difference when compared to home brand products. This is particularly true for staple pantry items such as wholemeal bread, low-fat cow’s milk, flour, extra virgin olive oil.
- Use the Health Star Rating system to compare products within a food category in order to find the healthiest options. For example, comparing two brands of cereal against each other. The rating system has not been made to compare between categories, for example, comparing cereal to a tub of yoghurt. Aim for 4 stars or more. If a product does not have a star rating this does not necessarily mean that it is a bad option – it just means that the manufacturer has not chosen to display the rating. This is where your label reading skills come into play! Choose products lower in energy, sodium and saturated fat.
Want to take the confusion out of it? We offer supermarket tours!