When I go to the grocery store, there are a few things that make a regular appearance in my cart. I thought I would let you take a peek into my shopping cart and find out what I choose and why. Check out this video for a quick look through!

First of all, I must say that my favourite way to shop is at local farms and markets. I am anxious for our local farmer’s market to set up once again! Over the winter months, I do shop more frequently at the grocery store as we live in a climate where much of our fresh produce has had to travel from warmer locations. I still look for local produce whenever possible and make a few farm visits over the winter months.

Free Run or Free Range Eggs

I purchase these from a local farmer all year long. I make a stop once every couple of weeks and re-stock the fridge. I think it is important to get eggs from happy hens who are able to freely roam the barn during the winter months. Hens who roam indoors are called free run, once the warmer temperatures arrive, the hens are invited to outdoors and are then called free range. Please don’t waste your money on fancy eggs at the grocery store. Terms like ‘omega’ & flax fed are so loosely regulated that you may be paying extra for fancy titles without any backing.

Bananas

Where would my morning smoothie be without a banana? While I do like to switch up the ingredients in my smoothie, bananas do make a regular appearance. Bananas are a great source of potassium, a source of tryptophan, which converts into serotonin – the happy mood brain neurotransmitter, a source of fibre and also can be used as a natural antacid! Bananas are also the perfect on the go snack! It really doesn’t get much simpler than this! The list of banana benefits is much longer, but hey, we need to move on to the next shopping cart item.

Avocados

Hip hip hooray for avocados! Avocados are a great source of fibre, healthy fat, a source of vitamin K and folate. I use avocados in my smoothies, to make guacamole, as a side to eggs & tomatoes and as a salad topping. When shopping for an avocado, keep in mind when you plan to use it. Avocados that are greenish black in colour and soft to the touch, are ready to be used right away. If you don’t plan on using the avocado right away and need it in a few days, look for an avocado brighter in colour and quite firm. Allow the avocado to ripen on the counter. If you want to slow down the ripening process, pop it into the fridge.

Dairy

When I stop in the dairy department the first thing I look for is Canadian dairy. You can find a little blue cow on most packages or read the ingredient list to find out. Keep in mind that just because something is made in Canada, doesn’t necessarily mean that it is with made all Canadian ingredients. Dairy from other countries can contain bovine growth hormones. I’ve got enough hormones thank you very much – I certainly don’t need a cow’s synthetic hormones to deal with!

The first thing I pick up good old fashioned regular plain yogurt. No flavours or low fat for me! Most of the flavoured yogurts are artificially flavoured and pack about 4 teaspoons of refined sugar per serving! If they don’t have sugar, they are filled with artificial sweeteners which I avoid like the plague. I actually get quite nauseous if I accidentally consume some. Artificial sweeteners have been linked to obesity, insulin resistance, memory loss and joint pain. I skip the low fat variety and head for the naturally creamy stuff. Low fat dairy has added starches to maintain the texture we crave. All that starch simply turns into sugar in our bodies. In order to be able to absorb the calcium in dairy, we need to have the fat soluble vitamin D intact. Remove the fat, remove much of the vitamin D!

Cheese is another must have most weeks. When I shop, I buy only white cheese such as havarti, mozzarella, feta, goat or cheddar. Orange cheddar cheese is only orange because of added food colouring!

Oats

Oats have become a staple in our home. I use them for hot oatmeal, granola to sprinkle on my yogurt, granola bars, as a binder in homemade burgers & meatballs and you can even grind some to make flour. They are a great source of fibre, phosphorus and zinc. They also help reduce cholesterol & may reduce your risk of colon cancer.

Bread

I don’t even touch store bought bread! There are so many additives, dough stabilizers and preservatives that I just keep on walking. I order my bread from a local bakery that makes it fresh for me with ingredients I understand. At $2.00 per loaf, I am happy to make a little extra stop once a month. I simply order a few loaves and pop it in the freezer until I am ready to use it.

Meat

I don’t usually buy grocery store meat at all. I stop by my local butcher and purchase there. I did initially think that we would pay more on a weekly basis for doing this. I have been pleasantly surprised to discover this hasn’t been the case and in fact, I’ve saved money on several occasions compared to what I would have spent at the grocery store.

Snacks

Most of my snacks are things like raw nuts, veggies and hummus and fruit. However, in the interest of being totally transparent here, I have been known to pop a bag of Miss. Vickies chips into the cart…not even the ‘healthier’ baked variety of chips either. Nutritionists are real people too and I thought you would appreciate that little extra tidbit from my shopping habits!

There you have it! That is what my shopping cart looks like on a weekly basis. I hope I’ve given you some food for thought! Still confused about how to shop? Consider booking a grocery shopping tour where I can teach you my tricks for shopping smart and efficiently!