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  • Writer's pictureDr. Kristen Mitteness

Your Grocery Guide

When it comes to mastering your food decisions, grocery shopping plays a huge role. No matter where you shop or what you like to eat, this guide will help make grocery shopping more organized and fun and less like a chore.

First and foremost, you are going to have to start reading labels. I don't need you to look at or memorize the amounts of any vitamins or percentage of your daily allowance, what you need to look at are the ingredients. What is this food made of? The ingredients are listed in order of amounts. So, if there first couple of ingredients are sugar or some form of it, ditch it. Look for real, pronounceable and recognizable ingredients. The less ingredients, the better. No label? Awesome! That means it is probably one, single ingredient food. When it comes to eating real food, you should aim to make meals out of real ingredients, not the fake "food like" processed garbage we often rely on.

Stock your pantry with items that will make your life easier and more delicious.

Quality pasta sauce and salsa. Look for one with no added sugar. Now, this doesn't mean that the sugar amount will be zero, because all vegetables and fruits contain sugar, but it shouldn't have sugar as an added ingredient. Also, avoid anything with soybean oil.

Spices. ALL OF THE SPICES! Curry powders, salt, pepper, cinnamon, garlic, cloves and pepper are my go-tos. If you buy fresh herbs, keep them in the freezer for more longevity. Also, in Winnipeg I have found that spices are pretty expensive. Organic spices aren't that much different in price, so I would use them instead. Their nutritional value is higher and you're supporting better farming practices.

Nuts and seeds. If stored correctly, nuts and seeds have a fairly good shelf life. You can add them to dished or grind them up to make "flour". I like almonds, cashews, pecans and pumpkin seeds.

Oils and fats. You need to make sure you are getting enough quality fat in your diet. Cook all of your food in the fat of your choice and drizzle any raw veggies you eat with olive oil. Fat is required to absorb the vitamins A, D, E and K. I always have coconut oil on hand. I use it for all of my sauteing.

Vinegar. Apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar and rice vinegar are the ones I use most often. Adding a bit of acidity to your meat or veggies can really change the flavor and increase the bio availability and absorption of nutrients.

Buy these foods on the regular.

Vegetables. Purchase enough vegetables to last you 5 to 10 days. Most veggies will be okay for that long. Potatoes, onions, squash and garlic can last much longer, especially when stored properly. Fruit can be put into this category, too. Find your go-to fruits and veggies. Mine include baby potatoes, yams, onions, mushrooms, peppers, garlic, green apples and bananas. I can easily make a one pan meal with these veggies, any form of ground meat, coconut oil and spices.

Meat. Most meat you can freeze so you don't necessarily need to buy it on a regular basis, but you need to make sure you have some thawed and ready to go. Ground meats are very easy to add to your meals and quick to cook. When it comes to more processed meats, please read your labels. Many premade sausages have added wheat crumbs and corn syrup which we need to be avoiding. I make a monthly order through Harvest Moon, which is a co-op of local farmers. Eggs and deli meat (look for gluten and dairy free) also keep well and are great if you have limited prep time.

If coming home to just "ingredients" makes you more likely to go through the McDonald's drive through, learn to meal prep or chop your veggies as soon as you purchase them. But, if you have veggies, oil and thawed meat you can easily have a meal on your table in less than 30 minutes. I hope you respect your health and well being enough to nourish your brain and body with real, whole foods.

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