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Healthy Grocery Shopping Tips & Checklist

Healthy Shopping Tips *Always ensure you read labels. Look for hidden fats, chemical preservatives, colours, added sugar & salt. Don’t just trust a label saying “Trans Fat Free”, “Low in Fat”, “Sugar Free” – become label conscious about what goes into food choices. *General Rule – do the majority of your shopping in the produce section and on the outside of the market – avoid most inner isles, as this is where convenience products, fast, refined, processed foods are. *General things to avoid – hydrogenated oils, BHT, BHA, artificial colours (i.e. FD & C #4), aspartame, MSG. *Whenever possible, buy Organic. To ensure no pesticides, chemicals, hormones or additives, as well as helping to create sustainable agriculture practices. The earth will repay you with good health. Frequently these products have shorter ingredient lists, as well as containing healthier ingredients with little or no preservatives. Local Food is also a great choice to support economic, social and energy of your community. BUY PLENTY OF Fruits & Vegetables

  • Should be the majority of your purchase – try to fill the largest part of your shopping cart

  • Choose bright colours, lots of variety with different textures and tastes

  • Frozen veggies & fruit are handy when in a pinch for time

  • AVOID CANNED VEGETABLES as much as possible.

BUY ADEQUATE/LIMITED AMOUNTS OF Grains, Breads, Wraps, Bagels, Pasta

  • Choose whole grains, sprouted grains & different kinds of grains

  • There are lots of healthy whole grain options that are tasty and full of variety in texture

  • Try picking up some barley, quinoa, millet, spelt kernels, brown & wild rice

  • AVOID WHITE FLOUR & WHITE SUGAR (includes enriched products, derum semolina, 60% products, icing sugar, brown sugar & items containing these)

BUY LIMITED AMOUNTS OF Dairy, Eggs, Cheese & Related Products

  • Buy Organic as much as possible to avoid hormones, additives & chemicals

  • Look for lower fat options with few ingredients on the label – like cottage cheese, light options of goat cheese feta, sour cream, yogurt (live culture with no added sugar)

  • Try rice, coconut, oat or almond milk instead of dairy – they can be used as you would use regular milk

  • Free run eggs – happy chickens, make happy eggs!

OKAY TO HAVE ON HAND Frozen Food items

  • Frozen Berries & Fruit for when making homemade desserts, muffins or as toppings for whole grain cereals, etc.

  • Frozen vegetables for in a pinch or when making soups and stews

  • Lean meats (un-breaded)

  • Fish (un-breaded)

  • Popsicles can easily be made at home from fresh fruit & or vegetables juices and purees.

  • Try Limited amounts of organic varieties of ice cream

  • Rice, cashew and Coconut milk based “ice” cream are tasty and contain much less saturated fats & sugar than traditional ice cream.

  • LIMIT Frozen yogurt which contains much less fat than traditional ice cream – but use sparingly as it contains high amounts of sugar.


HAVE ON HAND, BUT USE WISELY Condiments, Dressings & Miscellaneous items

  • Mayonnaise – try the “light” or vegan varieties - if not able to make your own

  • Mustard – limit to plain which you can dress up with unpasturized honey, maple syrup or cayenne for a little extra zip (once you’re at home)

  • Ketchup should at least be organic, but keep to a minimum

  • Avoid salad dressing – it’s easy to make your own

  • Look for Natural varieties of Peanut butter, nut & seed butters without added sugars or hydrogenated oils.

  • Instead of sugary jams try Apple Butter, or no sugar added varieties (be sure to read the label to avoid artificial sweetener

  • Unpasturized honey is much more nutritious

  • Oils – good buys – olive, grapeseed, sunflower, coconut – look for a dark bottle, refrigerate once opened and use within 3 months.

  • Butter is better – avoid margarine & products made with modified or hydrogenated oils. Ghee is also a great food that can be enjoyed by many who are otherwise dairy intolerant.

  • Vinegar should be apple cider, balsamic, wine or rice vinegars – Avoid traditional white variety

  • AVOID commercial pickled items as they use white vinegar & lots of sugar to manufacture

Meats & Fish

  • Look for organic or free run options as often as possible

  • Choose lean cuts, skinless and lean ground meats

  • Try turkey or chicken burgers instead of hamburgers

  • Canned tuna and salmon can be used in a pinch – try looking for wild caught, and dolphin friendly.

  • LIMIT OR AVOID RED MEATS, DELI MEATS (avoid nitrates, nitrites)

Treats & Desserts

  • Try popping your own corn – avoid microwave popcorn

  • Look for baked chips – avoid fried chips with added artificial flavors (despite the label saying they are “Trans Fat Free” – this may not actually be the case as this is prior to “frying” the potatoes)

  • Trail mix (no salt) is a nice snack – dried fruits, nuts & seeds (avoid sulphites)

  • Choose organic, fair trade dark chocolate in limited amounts

  • Baking supplies are essential for whole foods home baking.

AVOID Convenience Foods

  • Chips, Pop, Pretzels, sugary “juice” drinks, sports drinks, chocolate bars & snack items

  • Pastries, cakes, cupcakes, bakery items containing white flour, sugar, hydrogenated oils. Instead discuss with Jo-Anne how to work with natural ingredient to make healthy treats & snacks!


Filling your Pantry and Fridge with Supplies

Baking Supplies

o Whole Grain flours: spelt, brown rice, oat, barley, kamut, rye, etc.

o Whole flours/meals: buckwheat, flax meal/flour, cornmeal, quinoa, amaranth, coconut, hemp meal etc.

o Oat flakes, spelt flakes, quinoa flakes

o Raw cane sugar or sucanat

o Aluminum free baking powder

o Baking soda

o Sea Salt (fine grind Brittany Grey or Himalayan are nice)

o Pure Vanilla, Maple and Peppermint extracts

o Coconut, grapeseed, sunflower and olive oils, butter

o Ground cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger

o Fresh or frozen fruit

o Grated coconut, raisins, dates (unsulfited)

o Chocolate chips (fair trade/ organic & non-hydrogentated)

“Everyday Checklist”


  • Carrots

  • Parnsips

  • Cucumber

  • Zucchini (green / yellow)

  • Squash (summer / winter)

  • Turnips or Rutabaga

  • Celery

  • Broccoli

  • Cabbage

  • Peppers, Sweet (avoid green)

  • Peppers, Hot

  • Potatoes

  • Sweet Potatoes

  • Spinach

  • Rapini

  • Swish Chard

  • Kale

  • Artichoke

  • Asparagus

  • Romaine Lettuce

  • Salad Greens

  • Onions

  • Leek / Green onion

  • Garlic

  • Green Beans

  • Wax Beans

  • Brussel Sprouts

  • Rhubarb

  • Vegetable juices

Sea Vegetables

  • Sushi Nori

  • Dulse

  • Kelp

  • Wakame

  • Kuzu

  • Kombu

  • Hajiki

Herbs – Fresh & Dried

  • Basil

  • Parsley

  • Chives

  • Cloves

  • Cinnamon

  • Nutmeg

  • Sage

  • Oregano

  • Thyme

  • Rosemary

  • Lavender

  • Cumin

  • Coriander

  • Ginger

  • Ground Mustard or Mustard Seed

  • Tarragon

  • Cilantro

  • Mint

  • Herbal Teas (selection)


  • Apples

  • Oranges

  • Bananas

  • Kiwi

  • Strawberry/Blackberry/Raspberry

  • Blueberry

  • Peaches/Nectarines

  • Pineapple

  • Papaya

  • Mango

  • Lemon / Lime

  • Grapefruit / Pomelo

  • Cantaloupe, Honey dew melon

  • Watermelon

  • Plums

  • Pomegranate

  • Grapes

  • Tomato

  • Avocado

  • Fruit Juice (not from concentrate – limited)

Nuts & Seeds (& their butters)

  • Almonds

  • Walnuts

  • Pecan

  • Filberts

  • Cashews

  • Hazelnuts

  • Brazil nuts

  • Macadamia nuts

  • Pistachios

  • Sunflower seeds

  • Pumpkin seeds

  • Sesame seeds (white/black)

  • Tahini (sesame seed butter)

  • Poppy seeds

  • Chia seeds (white/black)

  • Flax seeds (brown/golden)

Whole Grains & Cereal products

  • Spelt kernels

  • Oat groats or steel cut oats

  • Buckwheat grouts

  • Wheat berries

  • Kamut kernels

  • Quinoa seed

  • Amaranth seed

  • Rye kernels

  • Barley (pot)

  • Brown rice

  • Wild / red / japonica rice

  • Millet seed

  • Granola cereal (no sugar added)

  • Puffed grains

  • Shredded grains cereal

  • Whole grain flat bread / tortilla wraps

  • Sprouted grain bread / muffins

  • Whole Grain crackers (no preservatives or additives)

Lentils & Dried Legumes

  • French lentils

  • Red / Green Lentils

  • Chick peas (garbanzo beans)

  • Black eyed peas

  • Pinto beans

  • Kidney beans

  • Lima beans

  • Navy beans

  • Split peas

  • Peanuts (peanut butter)

Poultry, Fish, Meats & Fermented Soy Products

All protein sources should be free range &/or organic whenever possible

  • Whole chicken

  • Chicken breasts (skinless)

  • Ground Chicken

  • Whole Turkey

  • Ground Turkey

  • Fresh Fish (wild caught)

- salmon, tuna, mackerel, cod, halibut, etc.

  • Canned fish (wild caught & eco-responsible)

  • Lean Ground meat (limit quantities)

  • Tofu

  • Tempeh

  • Miso

Frozen or Canned Foods

Choose organic whenever possible

  • Frozen berries

  • Frozen mixed vegetables

  • Canned diced tomatoes

  • Canned tomato paste

  • Canned beans (for in a pinch)

Dairy, Eggs & Alternatives

Choose free range & organic whenever possible and raw dairy if accessible

  • Butter (unsalted / salted)

  • Eggs (brown & free range)

  • Milk (cow or goat – limited amounts)

  • Almond milk

  • Brown rice milk

  • Soft / hard goat cheese

  • Soft / hard cow cheese (limited amounts)

  • Yogurt (goat or cow – plain – no additives)

  • Yoghurt starter

  • Kefir grains

Condiments, Oils & Sauce Items

  • Apple Cider vinegar

  • Red wine vinegar

  • Balsamic vinegar

  • Rice vinegar

  • Black strap Molasses

  • Unpasturized Honey

  • Blue Agave Nectar (Raw)

  • Maple Syrup

  • Tamari (wheat free)

  • Herbal Bouillon (cubes or powder)

  • Apple butter

  • Ketchup (fruit sweetened, organic)

  • Salsa

All oils should be in dark bottles – look for cold pressed, organic & store in fridge or freezer

  • Olive oil

  • Coconut oil (solid at room temp & okay to store at room temp)

  • Grapeseed oil

  • Sunflower oil

  • Sesame oil

Cold only oils (do not cook with these)

  • Flax seed oil

  • Hemp seed oil

  • Pumpkin seed oil

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