Grocery shopping can be daunting and time-consuming, especially when you have endless assignments due simultaneously. Comforting, quick fixes that don’t require preparation are the easy solution, however, those foods likely aren’t very nourishing and won’t contribute to your long-term wellbeing.

Food fuels your body and brain, and certain foods can even boost your immunity. Learn to grocery shop smarter with these four tips, and give your body and wallet a break!

1. Shop the Periphery

The outside edges of the grocery store are where you’ll find most of the nutrient-dense, fresh foods like vegetables, fruit, and dairy products. By shopping this way, you are more likely to fill up your basket with whole foods that can be turned into healthy meals or snacks, leaving little room for highly processed or sugary foods. Keep in mind that you can still find some healthy options in the aisles, like whole grains, nuts and seeds.

2. Half Your Plate Fruit and Vegetables

Look for produce that’s on sale to create budget-friendly meals. Inexpensive vegetables that keep well include carrots, cabbage, onions, parsnips, beets and yams, which are versatile in multiple dishes. Try adding chopped up vegetables in stews and pasta sauces, or throw all your leftover vegetables into an omelette or frittata. Aim to try one new fruit or vegetable every month!

3. Try New Food

Substitute animal proteins with plant proteins like chickpeas, lentils, or tofu. Meatless meals are cheaper than animal proteins, and can lead to big improvements for your health and carbon footprint. You could work some sustainable fish into your diet too! Canned fish is a convenient, protein-rich option and high in omega-3 fatty acids.

Also, make sure you opt for whole grain breads, whole wheat pasta and other whole grains like barley, wild rice and quinoa. Whole grains provide more fibre, b-vitamins and iron than other more refined options. Try a new whole grain every few weeks!

4. Sign Up for a Grocery Store Tour

UBC Food Services, in partnership with Athletics and Recreation, offers free one-hour grocery store tours at the Save-On Foods in Wesbrook Village led by senior dietetics students. During the tour, you’ll learn tips and tricks to make your shopping experience quicker, easier and more nutritious.

Learn how to read nutrient labels, which foods to choose, and what to consume in moderation. A general understanding of how to incorporate different foods into your diet will create balance and variety and improve your overall wellbeing.

Tours are tailored to your needs, whether you’re working with a budget, an athlete trying to optimize performance, want to enhance your health and eat better, or currently have a meal plan. Plus, you might even have fun!

Sign up for a grocery store tour now!

Co-authored by Melissa Baker, MHSc, RD & Elizabeth Yu (UBC Dietetics Student)

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