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Healthier Grocery Shopping

Now more than ever, careful planning before heading out to the grocery store is necessary.

Not only is it your chance to choose the ingredients you use when preparing your meals and snacks but it’s also an opportunity to plan portion control and be creative with perishable and non- perishable foods.

Here are 5 Steps to Healthier Grocery Shopping from and for further help with nutrition contact us at

5 steps to healthier grocery shopping

Use these 5 steps to help you make healthier food choices when you are grocery shopping.

  1. Be preparedPlan ahead and always shop with a grocery list. This will save you time and money and help you buy only the foods you need. Part of being prepared includes not shopping on an empty stomach. If you shop when you are hungry, you may buy foods you don’t need.

  2. Fill your cart with healthy choicesFill your cart or basket with:

    • vegetables and fruits

    • whole grain foods

    • protein foods

      • choose protein foods that come from plants more often

Use grocery shopping as a chance to find new healthy foods. Your cart should be colourful. As a helpful tip, make half of the items in your shopping cart vegetables and fruits. In-season vegetables and fruits are often:

  • tastier

  • fresher

  • less expensive

Choose affordable options when you are grocery shopping on a budget.

  1. Assess your shopping habitsKeep track of where in the grocery store you are spending time and the types of foods you put in your shopping cart. Certain aisles, freezers and the ready-to-eat food sections are full of processed and prepared foods that have added sodium, sugars or saturated fat. Limit the amount of highly processed foods in your basket. If you buy these foods and have them in your house, you are more likely to eat them. Take time to look at food labels. These help you to compare products and choose the healthier option. Notice if marketing is influencing your food choices while grocery shopping. Being aware of marketing can help you make healthier choices. Examples of marketing in grocery stores that can affect your purchases include:

    • free samples

    • promotional items

    • product placement

    • colourful packaging

Involve others. Encourage your family and friends to choose healthy foods they like while grocery shopping. Make grocery shopping a fun and interactive activity for kids. Skip out on grabbing last-minute items from the checkout aisle. These tend to be expensive and are usually not healthy options.

  1. Think of the environmentUse reusable shopping bags. Bringing reusable bags with you helps reduce the use of plastic bags, which are harmful to the environment. Choose products with less packaging. A lot of food packages end up in the garbage. Buying food from the bulk section helps reduce the amount of packaging used.

  2. Try making an impact at your grocery storeGet involved in making your local grocery store a healthier food environment. If you want a certain item and can’t find it, ask. Showing your interest can encourage the manager to stock healthy items. Give your grocery store feedback. Let the manager know if you think the store uses too much packaging. Share ideas to replace checkout aisle snacks with healthy options. Encourage your grocery store to promote healthy food choices instead of highly processed foods. For example, encourage the store to offer free stickers or fruit to kids instead of offering free cookies. Encourage your store to consider services and activities that encourage healthy eating such as:

    • cooking classes to practise making healthy meals

    • tours with a dietitian to learn more about healthy food choices

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