Second only to cooking with a personal chef is grocery shopping with a personal dietician. While I’ve never had a chef (because, I mean, come on), for an all-too-brief moment I went grocery shopping with dietician Melodie Yong.
It’s National Nutrition Month, you see, and Healthy Families BC has just launched their Shopping Sense tool. I’ve worked with Healthy Families BC through my former agency (skip 30 seconds into this behind-the-scenes video and I’ll tell you all about that) and through my own creative consulting company Northill.
Plus, I love me some healthy eating so I wanted to know what I didn’t know, ya know?
These nine grocery-shopping tips stood out.
1. Shop with a list. It’ll cut down on impulse purchases (like Swedish Berries — those little gummies get me every time.) Need a little help with prepping and planning? You’ll find a few helpful tools here.
2. Eat your veggies. “It’s a boring message,” Melodie says. “But no one wants to hear what they can’t eat — they don’t want to hear they can’t eat cookies — they want to know what they can eat more of.” Besides, you feel like a superfood hero when you actually eat your greens and purples and yellows.
3. Colour your plate. Speaking of greens and purples and yellows, eat a rainbow of vibrantly coloured veggies. Melodie recommends putting at least three colours on every plate.
4. Eat something orange every day. Because beta carotene is good for you.
5. Go easy on yourself. It’s okay to have a couple nights during the week of less-than-perfect meals as long as most of what you’re eating is nutritionally balanced. It’s about balance, people. Balance.
6. Can’t pronounce an ingredient? That’s probably not a good sign. While reading the label is key, understanding what’s on it is just as important. But you don’t have to take our word for it: The New York Times has a fascinating — and frightening — article on the science of processed food.
7. Opt for plain yogurt. Avoid the sugary kind and flavour it yourself. Easy peasy. Greek-style will often — though not always — have more protein so compare labels.
8. Go Mediterranean. Comprised predominantly of olive oil, nuts, lean fish, fruit and veggies, a Mediterranean diet is great for preventing heart disease. Also, it’s delicious.
9. Shop the outside of the grocery store. That’s where the produce aisle, freshly baked goods and dairy are located. It’s also where the heavily processed foods aren’t.
Want to tour the grocery store with Melodie? Or at least her virtual self? Then click on over to Healthy Families BC’s Shopping Sense.