Feb 26, 2010

A Smarter Guide to Grocery Shopping

For most working Singaporeans, “market-ing”, or more commonly known - grocery shopping, are done in supermarkets, such as NTUC, Cold Storage, Giant, Sheng Siong, etc. Likewise, I do most of my grocery shopping in supermarkets, especially NTUC, since there’s just one conveniently located within walking distance from my house.

Eager to find out what the supermarket tour can offer me, I signed up for one at my workplace.

The nutritionists led us around the supermarket at Tiong Bahru Plaza, and shared with us tips on how to pick some healthier options as we stroll down the different aisles. These tips are especially useful if we have family members with chronic disease conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

Here are some tips I’ve picked up:

  • Choose soft margarine over butter. Hard margarine which is often used in confectionary are high in fats. Hence limit consumption in both.
  • After 2 years old, it is recommended to go for low fat milk when we drink milk.
  • For juices, choose those with lots of pulp. And of course, try not to pick those which are made from concentrate. The sugar content will be higher.
  • If you take instant oats, try non-instant ones instead. Creamer and additional flavouring are added in instant oats.
  • If you prefer jam with bread for breakfast, go for labels which read for diabetics. These are jam products without added sugar. The sweetness is from the fruit sugars. More natural.
  • And between peanut butter and jam, it's better to go with jam.
Lunch/ Dinner
  • If you like ham, and have high blood pressure, you can lower the sodium content by soaking ham in water. This will help to remove some of the sodium content.
  • For those with high cholesterol, have no more than 3 eggs per week. If possible, try to go egg-yoke-less, that will help to lower the cholesterol.
  • Love curry? Instead of using packaged coconut milk, use fresh coconut milk instead. Otherwise dilute it, or use milk instead.
  • Crabs and crab roe have very high cholesterol. Hence, be careful.
  • Is salmon considered red meat? Nope, salmon is one of the fish species, and hence is considered white meat. For fish options, choose salmon, codfish, mackerel and tuna. They offer good cholesterol.
  • For rice, choose brown rice.
  • Choose olive oil for cooking. But do note that olive oil is not suitable for deep frying.

Dessert/ Snack
  • Go for unflavoured and low fat/ no fat yoghurt, and add nuts or fresh fruits. This is a better option that the commonly sold fruit yoghurt. Fruits in such yoghurts are processed, and have higher sugar content. Diabetic patients should be careful in consumption of this area.
  • A fan of chocolates? Choose dark chocolates, they have less sugar content compared to their counterparts.
  • Only animal products have cholesterol.
  • As a general rule, we can use “The Healthier Choice Symbol” as a guide when we grocery shop, as the foods with the symbol are comparatively healthier options compared to other brands.
  • When you are comparing brands, use the “per 100ml”, or “per 100g” column to compare.
What do you think? I felt like I’ve attended a nutrition crash course from this supermarket tour. Learning about nutrition labels, trans fats, fructose, etc...

After all, nutrition is the science of food. :) Next, would be to putting knowledge into practice...