Shopping for the Good Stuff

If I were to ask you how many food decisions you make in a day, what would your answer be?  Would you say three, one for each meal? Or maybe six or seven, adding in a couple of snacks and coffee runs?

Believe it or not, researchers at Cornell University have estimated that we make over 200 food-related decisions daily. This process begins from the very moment we wake up.  For some people, their first decision might be whether to put cream or 2% milk in their coffee.  For others, it might be deciding between having toast or oatmeal for breakfast.  We may be oblivious to these food decisions, but they do in fact happen quite often.

Now, if we make approximately 200 food decisions on a typical day, imagine what happens when we set foot inside a grocery store.  Suddenly, this number skyrockets.  After all, grocery stores are a hotspot for food decisions, as each aisle introduces a multitude of food options needing to be assessed and evaluated.

Yes, we may be blessed to live in a world where food is plentiful and diverse; however, these overwhelming numbers of options can lead us to dread our weekly grocery shopping trip. Between making lists, comparing prices, reading nutrition labels, perusing aisles, and clipping coupons, the grocery shopping experience can be quite confusing.

In fact, according to a 2012 Ipsos Reid poll by the Dietitians of Canada, 63% of Canadians struggle with making healthy grocery store choices at least half the time they shop.

The good news (and there is only good news to this story) is that dietitians are here to help.

Every year in March, the Dietitians of Canada host Nutrition Month, focusing their efforts on promoting healthy eating in our communities.  This year, their theme is Best Food Forward: Plan, Shop, Cook, Enjoy!  Across Canada, dietitians have come together to help ease the grocery shopping woes of many consumers.

For a great introduction to healthy grocery shopping, check out this video:

If you are looking for something more hands-on, there are plenty of additional resources to meet your every need.

  • Feeling lost in a grocery store?  Visit your nearest store and inquire about grocery store tours.  These guided tours will help you navigate the aisles and spot healthy food choices more easily.
  • Want to tailor your grocery shopping strategy for your family?  Visit the Dietitians of Canada website at to download free handouts on grocery shopping tips, and to learn more about their eaTipster phone app! 
  • Confused about label reading?  Visit a dietitian at one of our public events.  I will be available at the McLean Community Center in Ajax on March 23rd, going through label reading tips and menu planning strategies.  Bring your own packages if you’d like, and we can review them together.

Healthy eating should not be another chore on your to-do list.  Take advantage of free Nutrition Month events in your local community.  You’ll be zipping in and out of those grocery aisles in no time.

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