Once you know which the healthier choices in the supermarket are, shopping can actually get easier, quicker and cheaper.

  • Plan meals and snacks for the week and make sure you buy everything you will need.
  • Write a list and stick to it.
  • Don’t shop when you’re hungry so you are less tempted by unplanned choices.
  • Concentrate on buying foods from the five food groups and limit discretionary foods.
  • Use your label reading skills to work out which are the best choices and look for these each time you shop.
  • Click here to learn about basic foods which you can stock up on.
  • Limit baked biscuits, cakes and pastries to special occasions and small amounts.
Shopping basket filled with whole fruits and vegetables and bottles of prepared sauces and recipe additives.

Dried legumes, grains and soups

  • Dried legumes and grains like barley, bulgur and couscous are low in salt and very cost effective. Choose a variety and follow the instructions on the packet for soaking and cooking.
  • Ready made packet and canned soups tend to be high in added salt, so it’s better to make them at home with fewer salty ingredients.

Canned vegetables and fish

  • Look for vegetables including corn, legumes and tomatoes that are tinned without added salt.
  • Use label reading skills to compare products and choose tinned salmon, tuna and sardines with less added salt (sodium).

Meal bases, pastas and rices

  • Choose wholemeal pastas and brown rice
  • Avoid meal bases and ready-made pasta and rice meals as these are high in added salt.
  • Use label reading skills to choose pasta sauces that are lower in added salt.

Breakfast cereals

  • Look for wholegrain varieties and use label reading skills to choose products with less added salt and added sugars and more fibre.
  • If you are trying to lose weight, keep your serves of heavier cereals like muesli small.

Dairy cabinet

  • Look for 50% less fat cheese with 15g fat per 100g or less
  • Keep trying different fat reduced milks until you find what you like
  • Look for lower sugar low fat yoghurts which are not only low in saturated fat and added sugars but also great for a filling lower kilojoule mid meal.
  • Make your own custards and milk based desserts using low fat milk and limiting adding sugars.
  • Use Evaporated skim milk instead of light cream or light coconut milk
  • Fat reduced polyunsaturated spreads are lower in kilojoules and a good choice for people wanting to lose weight.

Frozen foods

  • Avoid discretionary foods, for example those that are fried, battered or crumbed
  • Look for a variety of frozen vegetables and fruit

Fresh meat, chicken and fish

  • Look for different types of lean meat and mince without visible fat
  • Look for skinless chicken breasts (lower in saturated fat)
  • Choose processed lean meats including ham only occasionally as they are high in added salt and often high in saturated fat
Roast dinner prepared and presented on white plate with various vegetables.

Tinned fruits and juices

  • Look for fruit tinned in natural juice with no added sugars or use pie pack fruit
  • Avoid too much dried fruit and  fruit juice that are higher in energy and increase risk of tooth decay

Special dietary products

  • Beware of products that are promoted as being carbohydrate modified or lower in kilojoules. Sometimes they have the same kilojoules as the regular product or are just smaller in serve size.
  • Use the energy value (kilojoules) on the nutrition information panel to check for yourself.

Photography: Great Ideas in Nutrition.