3 Myths About Healthy Grocery Shopping Print

calgary_HeraldThe Registered Dietitians in my nutrition counselling practice each specialize in unique family health, medical issue and sport requirements but all have clients that share common myths about healthy grocery shopping.

Here are some of the most common misconceptions you need to know about how to shop for healthy food:

Myth: It costs more to eat healthy

Fact: Healthy eating doesn’t necessarily cost more
The University of Guelph Food Institutes 2016 Food Price Reports the average Canadian household will spend up to $345 more on food overall in 2016 regardless of what you are eating.

But does it cost more to eat healthy? In a 2013 review article in the British Medical Journal, although diets rich in fruits, vegetables, fish and nuts did cost more than diets high in processed foods, meats and refined (white) grains, the difference was only about $1.50 more per day.

Perhaps the more important thing to remember is eating out and heavy reliance on prepared meals is a bigger contributor to a hefty grocery bill than learning efficient ways to cook from scratch. Cooking healthy meals at home also offers a clear health benefit, improves family connectedness and teaches your kids essential cooking skills important for their future wellness.

Take advantage of online apps such as Flipp or RedFlagDeals to compare grocery store sales and flyers. Plan more “meatless Monday” options and vegetarian meals using legumes. Adjust and swap ingredients in recipes to use seasonal items. For example, if you are making a spinach salad recipe that calls for feta cheese and strawberries which were overpriced this week, adjust your recipe by keeping the spinach and vinaigrette but instead use sale items such as sliced oranges and sunflower seeds.

Myth: Buying in bulk is best

Fact: Buying small is sometimes a better option
While there may be some benefits to buying big, there are also some potential economic, environmental and health drawbacks. 

The Toronto Food Policy Council suggests about 40 per cent of food produced in Canada annually is wasted and close to half of this occurs in homes. On average Canadian households waste a surprising $28 of food each week.

Food waste is a significant under-emphasized food budget concern. It is also often overlooked as a key personal way to boost environmental sustainability, given food waste contributes to higher carbon and methane production.

Also note food psychology research shows we are often subject to sensory specific satiety, which states that our senses (taste, smell and sight) get overwhelmed and numbed when they experience the same repetitive stimulus. This means that despite it being more cost effective to buy a ten-pound bag of oranges on sale, you may find your family eats less fruit in a week compared to when you buy ten pounds of six different types of fruit. The more variety, the more we eat.

Researchers have also learned that the more we have stockpiled, the more we potentially will also eat. This is good news if you are falling short in eating enough veggies and decide to buy veggies in bulk and place a large vegetable tray on the counter to snack on after work each day. This is bad news if your spouse purchased colossal family sized packages of your favourite potato chips in the cupboard and you are trying to cut back.

GroceryShoppingListMyth: Grocery shopping is time consuming

Fact: Disorganization is time consuming
One of the most common complaints we hear from our nutrition-counselling clients is that grocery shopping takes too much time. As a result of this thought pattern, two problematic things can happen. 

First, during hectic weeks full of family and work commitments you may find yourself skipping shopping altogether. This means there will be limited healthy fresh foods available in your home and more potential for heavier restaurant meals and convenience foods sneaking into your diet.

Alternatively frequent short trips to the store for quick grabs results in initial time saving but ultimately more time spent per week shopping than a single well planned shop. It also means that you will be tempted to succumb to unhealthy impulse buys and overspend since the more frantic our shopping, the more mindless your purchases will be.

Grocery shopping isn’t time consuming, disorganization is. Spend the time once to develop a master list of all the staple foods and seasonal items that your family eats. Use an app or go with what works for my family and is often more successful for many of our clients: type up a custom list organized by grocery store section and leave a stack of photocopies in your kitchen so anyone in your home can add to items as they run out.

About Andrea Holwegner

CEO, Registered Dietitian, Counseling Practice Director & Professional Speaker

Andrea the «Chocoholic Nutritionist» is founder and CEO of Health Stand Nutrition Consulting Inc. since 2000. She is an online nutrition course creator, professional speaker and regular guest in the media. Andrea is the recipient of an award by the Dietitians of Canada: The Speaking of Food & Healthy Living Award for Excellence in Consumer Education....Read more

Success stories

"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
“This is the first time I feel satisfied; my cravings have diminished dramatically and I have a whole new relationship with food. I am eating guilt-free for the first time in my life. My energy has also dramatically increased and I feel great!
Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
“The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. Andrea and her team really are the best in the business.”
Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“I spent 3 hours when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I learned more from my Dietitian about food in those 3 hours than I had learned in all the years of my life. I also love the newsletter, there is always something to learn.”
Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

“I am a busy mom, with kids in high level sports, working full-time downtown, and running our home acreage outside the City. I now have the knowledge and tools I need to plan for and manage the chaos of meal planning.”
Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Andrea is an excellent teacher and motivator. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
Lorri Lawrence, Pursuit of Healthiness online course participant

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