#ShopSmart: 6 Grocery Shopping Tips to Lead a Healthier Lifestyle

I decided to have a lifestyle change back in 2013 and the first thing I considered was changing my grocery shopping habits. The following are the essential things to change that make a big difference on the long run:

1- Fresh/Frozen instead of Canned

Very good quality frozen green peas from “al wadi al akhdar”

I switched from canned corn and peas to fresh when in season (although it takes time to freeze my own batches but it’s totally worth it) or frozen throughout the year. Spare your system the excess sugar, salt and preservatives.

2- Nonfat instead of Full Fat Milk & Yogurt

My milk of choice

You don’t need any of the fat in your milk or yogurt. Also, opt for fresh skimmed milk as opposed to powdered milk. I only use the latter for cooking while I prefer drinking fresh milk straight out of the fridge.

3- Low Fat instead of Full Fat Cheese, when Possible


Contrary to milk and yogurt, nonfat cheeses are tasteless and have a rubbery texture. On the other hand, low fat cheeses like mozzarella taste great and contain a lot less fat than the full fat version. As for white cheeses and labneh though, I would never go for low fat; they are already lower in fat than yellow cheeses.

4- Canola Oil instead of Sunflower Oil


Canola oil is one of the best oils for heart health. Made from crushed canola seeds, it has 7% saturated fat, compared to 12% for sunflower oil, 13% for corn oil, and 15% for olive oil.

Since I have a “no deep fry” policy in my household, I use Canola oil for pretty much everything. According to webmd.com, canola oil is one of the most versatile cooking oils because of its light flavor, high smoking point, and smooth texture. It can be used:

  • As a cooking oil for sautéing, stir-frying, grilling, and baking
  • In salad dressings, sauces, and marinades
  • To coat your pans for nonstick baking
  • Instead of solid fats (such as margarine and butter) in recipes

For most beef recipes, I opt for extra virgin olive oil, while I keep Canola oil for chicken recipes and baking (Unless I am marinating chicken to be charcoal grilled).

I use unsalted butter for rice and eggs (just a nob for flavor – it makes all the difference!)

5- Basmati instead of Regular Long-Grain Rice

Choose any brand you like, but make sure it is not packed in a cloth bag, as that makes the rice stale and it tastes like dust! #Yuck
Choose any brand you like, but make sure it is not packed in a cloth bag, as that makes the rice stale and it tastes like dust! #Yuck

Compared to regular long-grain rice, basmati rice is lower in calories. It is therefore a better choice whether you’re trying to lose or maintain a healthy weight.

Besides, it is tastier, more fragrant, does not need to be pre-soaked in hot water, and takes 10 minutes to cook, as opposed to the 25 to 30 minute cooking time for regular long-grain rice. In other words, it is a busy career mom’s top pick! 😀

6- Whole Grain instead of Regular Pasta:

Barilla's whole grain pasta range is amazing.
Barilla’s whole grain pasta range is amazing.

Whole grain contains more protein and more fiber than regular pasta, which means it is more nutritious and will keep you fuller for longer. Besides, whole grain pasta in the market today tastes amazing and it has come a long way, so why not give it a try? Quick tip: whole grain pasta is great with light sauces or marinara, not white sauces.


If you have other healthier grocery shopping tips, please share them with me in the comments section below!

I wish you a happy and healthy shopping! 🙂



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