Tips and Tricks for Being “Cart Smart”
To optimize your grocery shopping experience, consider the following recommendations:
Make a menu:
Try to plan a week’s worth of meals, based on your (family’s) upcoming schedule and the type of foods you (and your family) enjoy. If you’re in need of some cooking inspiration, check out these handpicked Healthy Recipes.
Write a list:
Do a quick inventory of the items you have. Then, jot down everything you need based on your menu for the week. Some people find it helpful to keep a running list posted in the kitchen, so it can be updated on the fly. In addition to meal items, think about keeping healthy snacks on hand, including fresh fruit, delicious dairy, nutritious nuts, etc.
Need a hand planning your grocery haul?
Stick to the sides:
Most grocery stores are set up with the fresh, perishable items – including produce (fruits and vegetables), protein (fish, poultry, red meat, eggs) and dairy (milk products and alternatives) – lining the perimeter walls. When you arrive at the grocery store, list in hand, try to hug the walls and stock up on mostly fresh foods.
Don’t go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. If you’re hungry whilst perusing the store, you’re more likely to make “impulse buys”.
Practice packaging principles:
You will likely need a few packaged items, and that’s okay. But try to be strategic in your selection of processed food. Aim for products low in sodium and saturated fat and high in fibre. The nutrition label contains plenty of info to help guide your selection. Check out the section on Nutrition Labels for a simple explanation of all label elements.
Diabetes superfoods to add to your grocery cart
Don’t leave the grocery store without these 8 items:
- Beans: A great source of fibre, beans slow down digestion and help reduce sudden spikes in blood sugar – kidney, navy, pinto, black, try them all.
- Berries: Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, oh my – these sweet treats are packed with vitamins and fibre and provide a delicious dessert alternative.
- Dark, leafy vegetables: Spinach, kale, arugula, collard greens – low in calories AND carbohydrates but high in vitamins and minerals.
- Fish (high in omega-3 fatty acids): “Fatty fish” like salmon, mackerel, and trout may help to reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Milk and yogurt: Low-fat dairy products are nutritious (full of calcium and vitamin D) and delicious. Opt for low-fat items with no added sugar.
- Nuts: Almonds, pecans, cashews – go nuts (but hold the salt). These super snacks are full of healthy fat, fibre, and flavour.
- Sweet potatoes: Much lower on the glycemic index than regular potatoes and jam-packed with vitamin A and fibre. Sounds sweet indeed.
- Whole grains: Rich in vitamins, minerals, and fibre, whole grains – such as whole oats, quinoa, and brown rice – are healthy and versatile pantry staples. Enjoy them in cereal, salad, soup, and stir-fry.