Eating well can be daunting, but one of the best ways to cook healthier meals is to tweak your grocery list a little. Just a few small changes over the course of a couple weeks can add up to some big improvements in your overall diet.
“Some of the best improvements I’ve seen have been made by changing one or two ingredients at a time from my clients’ weekly grocery lists,” explains Lauren Baker, a registered dietitian at Loblaws.
Here are a few simple changes people can make to upgrade their grocery lists and meet their goals.
Eat your greens. A healthy dinner plate is made of up one-half greens, one-quarter meat and one-quarter carbohydrates. “If you know your week is packed, swapping out some vegetables for ready-to-eat salads will make sure you get your greens since prep time is minimal,” advises Baker. “Instead of preparing butternut squash or zucchini from scratch, many stores sell frozen or fresh vegetables in cubes or as veggie noodles.”
Stay fuller longer with protein. “Many of my patients don’t get enough protein during breakfast or lunch, which leaves them feeling hunger throughout the day. This can encourage unplanned or unhealthy snacking.” Choose protein breads and pastas to pump up your protein intake — they take the same time to make as their low-protein counterparts.
Try a one-pot meal. Frozen chili, pizza or TV dinners are okay once in a while on a busy mid-week night, but their one-pot or one-pan alternatives are simple, fast and easy on dishes. “The more you cook, the faster you’ll get, plus homemade meals allow you to control your ingredients and often contain less salt,” says Baker.
Go with whole grain. Whole grains have more fibre than their processed counterparts, and more fibre makes for a healthy gut. “My favourite trades include switching from white pasta to whole grain pasta, rolled oats to steel-cut oats and white rice to brown rice. While it may take a little getting used to, whole grain products have come a long way in the last few years and many of my patients who make the switch don’t miss processed foods.”
For more ways to upgrade your shopping list or to see a registered dietitian, head to loblaws.ca/dietitians.