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Tips for Healthier Grocery Shopping

Eating well starts at the grocery store. It’s easy to make nutritious meals and snacks when your kitchen is stocked.

Easy Ways to Find Healthier Options at the Grocery Store

  • Plan healthy meals and snacks. Writing a grocery list before going to the store will save you time and money and help you shop only for the foods you need.
  • Fill your cart with the healthiest choices from the four food groups. Add more colour and crunch to your cart in the produce section.
  • Read food labels, even for so-called “healthier” foods. Ingredients and nutrient content can vary a lot by brand and preparation. When there’s more than one choice, compare labels. Choose the item with the lowest amounts of sodium, saturated fat, trans fat and added sugars.
  • Beware of sneaky ingredients. For example, sodium and added sugars go by many different names, making it harder to tell just how much is in there.
  • Choose frozen, canned or dried produce when fresh isn’t available or practical. It can be just as nutritious as fresh, and will last longer. Choose canned fruit packed in water, light syrup or its own juice. With canned and frozen vegetables, choose the product with the lowest amount of sodium. Heavy syrups and sauces can add unwanted ingredients to your healthy fruits and veggies.
  • Choose whole-grain. Lots of products claim to be, but there’s a simple way to know for sure. Look for the word “whole-grain” (or “whole” followed by the grain name) as the first item in the ingredients list. And we’re talking more than just bread. Include crackers, cereals, tortillas, pasta and other grain foods in your whole-grain quest.

Tips to Save Money on Groceries:

  • Eat before you shop. You’re less likely to make impulse purchases when you’re not hungry.
  • Shop locally. Food products are fresher and prices on goods from local farms are typically lower than prices of imported goods. Save your money and support local farmers!
  • Shop for sales. Check out flyers, coupons, and websites for deals. Create your meal plan and shopping list around these foods.
  • Stock up on lower-sodium canned goods when they are on sale.
  • Buy only what you will use. Buying in bulk may lead to waste. Freeze meat, poultry, fish, and bread to extend their shelf life.
  • Compare prices. Compare the unit price on the label to know what product is less expensive. Also, use flyers to price match products on sale in grocery stores where price-matching is available.
  • Buy fresh vegetables and fruit when they are in season-they’re usually less expensive at this time. Freeze extras for later.
  • Choose frozen vegetables and fruit when fresh produce isn’t in season. They are affordable and nutritious options.
  • Use beans, lentils, and other legumes often instead of meat.
  • Limit foods and beverages high in calories, fat, and sugar like cookies, pastries, salty snacks, pop, and other high-calorie drinks. They are low in nutrients and will add to your grocery bill.
  • Pay with cash! You’re more likely to stick to your budget.

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Grocery Shopping with Kids

Grocery shopping with children can sometimes be a little hectic. Here are a few ideas to keep them busy while learning healthy habits:

  • Ask your kids to help write the grocery list.
  • Make it a scavenger hunt. Ask your kids to find ingredients and pick out produce.
  • Try a new fruit or veggie. Later, find out how and where it grows.
  • Young children can count the number of fruit and veggies being added to the shopping cart.
  • Older children can read the Nutrition Facts table and help choose healthier foods.

Note:The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text and information, contained on or available through this web site is for general information purposes only. Sources: Government of Canada & American Heart Association, Inc. | www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/tips-healthy-eating; www.healthyforgood.heart.org/eat-smart

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Stay Active. Be Healthy.

Eating well and being active work together for a healthier you. Benefits of physical activity. Tips on how to get started. Be active at home, school, work or in your community. Guide of how much of physical activity you need.