Healthy eating starts at the grocery store. Shop for nutrient-rich choices in every aisle.
Nutrient-rich food offers more vitamins, minerals and other nutrients for relatively fewer calories (1). You can find nutrient-rich foods in just about every aisle of the grocery store:Buy Nutrient-Rich Food
In the produce section, choose a variety of colourful vegetables and fruits. There are many healthy options in the frozen aisle too. Try to limit your juice and canned varieties as these are lower in fibre and often higher in sugar and sodium.
Aim for at least 3-5 different colours amongst your fruit and vegetable choices. This will provide a greater nutrient variety.
In the refrigerated section, look for lower-fat products, such as skim or 1% milk, soy milk, and low-fat or fat free yogurt.
At the butcher counter, choose cuts of fresh, lean, unseasoned meats and poultry instead of deli meat due to the sodium and nitrates. If buying frozen meat, read the nutrient facts and/or ingredients to ensure there is just one ingredient in the food you are purchasing. Often there are hidden sources of sodium in frozen products, which can drive up the price by inflating the weight.
At the seafood counter, look for fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and trout, as well as shellfish, such as shrimp and crab.
For lower mercury fish, wild Pacific salmon and wild trout is your best choice. If you frequently eat shrimp, it is important to know that it is a higher source of cholesterol and is often a high sodium food choice. Again – look at the % D.V. on the nutrition facts to know for sure.
When shopping for grains, choose unprocessed, whole grains, such as brown rice, bulgur, quinoa and barley. Look for what I call “Single Ingredient Foods” most often. When buying bread and cereal, choose whole grain and higher-fibre varieties. Manufacturers are getting sneaky, so be sure your product is 100% whole grain and not just “made with whole grains” or “multigrain.” These are fancy marketing words that can sometimes be misleading. Also take the time to look at the sugar and sodium in grain products, as they can often be unnecessarily high.
In the inner aisles, look for lentils and legumes such as black beans and chickpeas. Beans and lentils are best in their dried form, as they do not have added sodium. They also are better tolerated from a digestive perspective with many individuals, as they seem to have a lower oligosaccharide content after being cooked.
Finally, look for raw or dry-roasted nuts and seeds such as walnuts, almonds, pumpkin and sunflower seeds (2). These are healthy fats with tons of micronutrients and trace elements. It is easy to over eat these healthy foods from a calorie perspective, so it is important to know what their calorie value is and count it out before you pop them in your mouth! For calorie value information and other great links, check out our resource page, or click here to go to Dietitians of Canada’s EatWise . Find nutrient-rich choices in every aisle with this cool virtual grocery store tour