How To Grocery Shop. Seriously.

2 02 2013

As a quick follow-up to my posting on Nutrition Facts Labels, I wanted to write-up a quick article on how to grocery shop. This may sound silly, but a lot of people, especially young people, have no idea what to do or where to go when they enter a supermarket. I’m going to keep this piece simple and straight-forward.

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1) Make a list: Before leaving the  house, write down exactly what you’re going to need for the next few days. Produce (fresh fruits and veggies) should always be necessary. Lean protein sources are also key. Having a list will make your trip to the store much quicker and will limit the chances of making unhealthy impulse purchases.

2) Shop around the perimeter of the store: In most supermarkets, the natural, necessary food will be located around the walls of the store: fresh produce, lean meats, dairy, whole unprocessed grains, etc. Even the frozen food section is usually located near the edge of the store (think: frozen veggies, berries, chicken breasts, etc. NOT frozen pizza, desserts, etc.). The middle aisles are typically reserved for packaged, processed food, which is generally more unhealthy. Limit your time in the aisles, especially if you want to avoid making impulse purchases that are not on your list.

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3) Read the Nutrition Facts Labels: When choosing foods, and especially when comparing similar items, it is always important to check the Nutrition Label and ingredients. I detail this process here.

4) Buy Canadian: This is a personal choice, and it is something that is increasingly hard to do, but we should all make an effort to buy local/Canadian products. For one, produce and meats that have not travelled great distances or have not been mass-produced for size and colour (think: local farms, grass-fed meat, etc.) are always higher in nutritional value than their imported counterparts. Secondly, if we want to keep our country healthy and away from the economic disaster that is the US, we need to consume less imports. We are fortunate to live in a country that can produce many different kinds of produce and high-quality animal products, yet the vast majority of the products in supermarkets have been imported. It’s easier and cheaper to buy whatever’s on sale and readily available, but we need to be cognizant of the fact that buying Canadian ultimately benefits us all.

That’s it. Short and sweet. For more information on the kinds of food we should all be eating and those that we should be avoiding, please refer to my previous articles on Carbohydrates, Fat, and Protein.

Oh, and bring reusable bags dammit. Come on.

Happy shopping!

DW