Life’s fast pace can leave us short of time for meal and snack preparation. The good news is you don’t have to sacrifice health and nutrition even when you’re on the run. In fact, healthy eating is more important than ever when you’re trying to keep up with a hectic schedule. You can avoid heading for the snack machine even if you only have 15 minutes for lunch or between meetings. Be ready for a quick meal or snack by stocking your cupboards and lunchboxes with the following healthy choices from your local grocery store.
Grocery Shopping Tips
Grocery shopping for vegetables and fruit:
- Pick up pre-cut and washed fresh fruit or vegetables that can be part of a healthy meal or snack.
- Try a bagged salad or slaw mix for a quick salad.
- Stock your freezer with frozen vegetable mixes and fruits. A handful of vegetables can be easily added to soups, casseroles and stir-fry or topped on pizza. Berries can be added to yogurt,
- moothies or breakfast cereal.
- Dried fruit is a convenient portable snack. You can bring it with you on your commute or stockpile containers of it in your office for times when you need an energy boost.
Grocery shopping for grain products:
- Cut back on cooking time by choosing quick-cooking grains such as fresh pasta, converted rice and couscous.
- Instant oatmeal and whole grain cereal make for a quick breakfast or snack. Choose the plain cereals with less sugar.
- Pizza shells, often found in the deli or bread section of the store, can be a foundation for a quick and healthy meal by loading it with a variety of vegetables, lean meat and lower fat cheese.
- Pick up some whole wheat pitas, wraps and English muffins for a change in pace from sandwich bread.
Grocery shopping for Meat and Meat Alternatives:
- Save time preparing meals by selecting pre-marinated meat, poultry and fish, vegetable and meat kebabs or prawn skewers.
- Canned beans and lentils are a quick and healthy alternative to meat that can save you meal preparation time. Add them to soups, chilis, pasta sauces or salads.
- Load up on nuts, seeds (without salt) and trail mixes for healthy snacks to get you through a mid-afternoon slump.
- The deli section of the store often has some healthy convenience foods such as hummus, salsas, pre-cut cheese, roasted chicken (remove the skin before eating) and deli meats. Choose deli meats that are lower in fat such as turkey, chicken and lean roast beef.
Grocery Shopping in the dairy case:
- Pre-portioned yogurts come in all different sizes and flavors and make for a calcium-rich snack.
- Naturally lower fat cheese such as cottage cheese and ricotta cheeses make for good protein and calcium sources for lunches and snacks. I often use cottage cheese in place of salad dressing to add flavor and a source of protein.
- Pre-shredded cheeses can save preparation time on pizza for the family or can be added to salads, soups or wraps.
- Regular or liquid eggs are good to keep on hand for making omelets or French toast for a speedy meal in a time crunch.
Leah is an advocate for health and wellness and believes in providing practical nutrition advice to people and communities. Leah brings a varied background in community and clinical nutrition to the Healthcastle team. Her experiences have provided a focus on family nutrition with experienced working at Children’s and Women’s Health Center of BC and sports nutrition and disease management from work as a private practice dietitian. She is involved in the sports nutrition community providing nutrition seminars to various sports teams and clubs in Vancouver and the lower mainland. Her writing experience stems from writing nutrition articles for local grocery store company as part of their wellness program.