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Complete Healthy Eating Guidelines when shopping


Whether you plan menus in advance or make meals at the last minute, what you buy in the supermarket probably determines most of your family’s food intake. Food shopping is, therefore, an important part of making healthy meal palns that follow the Healthy Eating Guidelines. Read on for basic advice on food shopping from making a list to what you put into your shopping trolley.

The Red Tea Detox

Of course, how you cook food and what you add to healthy meals is also important.

Using Healthy Eating Guidelines when shopping can give you and your family a better chance of living a fitter and healthier life.

    • Eat a variety of different foods using the Food Pyramid as a guide.
    • Eat the right amount of food to be a healthy weight and exercise regularly.
    • Eat four or more portions of Fruit and Vegetables every day.
    • Eat more foods rich in starch – bread, cereals, potatoes, pasta and rice.
    • Eat more foods rich in fibre – bread and cereals (especially wholegrain), potatoes, Fruit and Vegetables.
    • Eat less fat, especially saturated fats. Make lower fat choices whenever possible.
    • If you drink or eat snacks containing sugar, limit the number of times you take them throughout the day.
    • Use a variety of seasonings – try not to rely on salt to flavor foods.


Include a variety of different foods to get the vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein and energy you need for good health. No one food contains all of these in the amounts needed, so you have to eat a variety of foods to get the right amount.


Use the Food Pyramid as a guide when making your shopping list. Choose lots of:

    • bread, cereals, potatoes, rice and pasta;
    • fruit and vegetable;
    • milk, cheese and yogurt;
    • meat, fish, poultry, eggs, peas,
    • beans and nuts.

High fat and/or high sugar foods on the top shelf of the Food Pyramid should only account for a small selection of shopping in your supermarket trolley.


Balancing the energy you take in as food and the energy you use up through physical activity is the key to being a healthy weight. So choose foods that provide lots of nourishment, but are low in fat, like:

bread, cereals, potatoes, rice and pasta (choose high-fiber choices regularly); fruit and vegetables (especially lots of vegetables and salads); low-fat milk, cheese and yogurts; lean meat, fish, poultry, low-fat cheese, eggs, peas and beans;

Eat as little as possible from the top shelf of the Food Pyramid as these foods contain lots of energy but provide little nourishment. Look out for low fat and sugar-free choices when shopping.


Fruit and Vegetables are high in fibre and packed with vitamins and minerals, especially A, C, and E vitamins. They are also low in calories and virtually fat-free.

When making your shopping list, add up your Fruit and Vegetable choices and make sure that you have included at least four servings each day for all of your family. If not, add some more.

You will only need to do this a few times, as you will soon have a good idea of how much you need each week. Put plenty of these into your shopping trolley:

    • fruit juices, all types – especially orange and grapefruit;
    • fruit, all kinds – fresh, frozen and tinned (especially in own juice);
    • dried fruit – use to sweeten desserts;
    • vegetables of all kinds – fresh, frozen and tinned. Remember frozen vegetables are just as good as fresh.

For handy, convenient meals, check out pre-prepared Fruit and Vegetables. While sometimes more expensive, there is no wastage. Try:

    • bags of salad leaves;
    • bags of chopped vegetables;
    • cartons of salad selections;
    • grated raw carrot and cabbage mix for coleslaw;
    • cartons of fresh fruit and fruit salad;
    • bags of frozen vegetables or fruit.

To save money, buy Fruit and Vegetables in season, buy in bulk and look out for special offers. Choose plenty of variety.


These starchy foods are low in fat, provide many essential vitamins and minerals and are filling.

These foods should make up the main part of any healthy eating plan so put lots of these in your shopping trolley:

    • to ring the changes, buy different varieties of bread – sliced pans, soda bread, crusty baguettes, rolls, pitta bread and bagels;
    • try scones, muffins and fruit brack as tasty treats for children at the end of a meal. These are usually lower in fat than croissants, pastries, buns and cakes;
    • choose a variety of low sugar breakfast cereals. Children especially love trying new varieties;
    • pasta is a handy convenience food quick to prepare and filling. Choose a variety of shapes and colors;
    • don’t forget rice, try wholegrain rice or mix a handful of wild rice with white;
    • and of course potatoes, our traditional favorite, is an important item in all shopping trolleys. Buy more potatoes particularly for boiling or baking. Keep chips to once a week.


It is important to get enough fibre in the food you eat. There are two main types of fibre. Wheat fibre has a laxative effect and soluble fibre, such as oat fibre, may help reduce cholesterol levels and protect against heart disease.

It is best to eat a variety of fibre-rich foods from bread, cereals (especially wholegrain), potatoes, fruit and vegetables. Choose:

    • plenty of wholemeal bread and wholegrain breakfast cereals for added fibre;
    • wholegrain or bran type breakfast cereals more often, instead of sugar or honey coated cereals;
    • biscuits made with wholegrain flour, oatmeal and raisins provide more fibre than other types. Eat as treats, preferably after meals;
    • buy plenty of potatoes, especially new potatoes when available, and eat them in their skins for added fibre;
    • fruit and vegetables provide fibre as well as vitamins and minerals. Put these top of your shopping list;
    • remember to buy dried fruits for added fibre – prunes, apricots, raisins, sultanas and currants.


Most people eat too much fat, so when you are shopping, keep a close eye on the amount and type of fat there is in the foods you buy. Reading food labels will help. The following tips may also help.

    • Firstly, try to buy fewer foods from the top shelf of the Food Pyramid – cakes, biscuits, chocolate, crisps and other high fat snack foods. Choose low-fat alternatives and substitute more nourishing foods such as fruit, low-fat yogurt or popcorn for healthy snacks for children. Regularly buy a spread or margarine made from pure vegetable oil such as sunflower or olive oil, this means you will eat less saturated fat. If you are using more than two pats or two teaspoons of margarine or butter each day, try a low-fat variety, it has less fat so you can use a bit more.
    • All types of oils are a very concentrated source of fat.
    • Choose a pure vegetable oil such as sunflower, corn, rapeseed or olive oil and use it sparingly in cooking. Get into the habit of measuring oil in tablespoons rather than pour straight from the bottle. When possible grill, boil, casserole, oven-bake or microwave food preference to frying.
    • Buy more low-fat dairy products such as low-fat milk, cheeses yogurts. These taste good and be easily substituted in cookies Don’t cut back on the recommended daily servings these foods – just cut back o’ the fat.
    • try frozen yogurts and sorbets as a treat or topping on fruit. These are lower in fat than ice cream or cream.
    • Buy the leanest cuts of meat that you can and trim off all visible fat before cooking. Choose lower fat mince, lean beef burgers and low-fat sausages and grill them. Red meat is especially important for women, who should try to have a 3 oz portion three to four times a week.
    • Always put fish on your weekly shopping list. People eat very little fish. Try to have fish at least twice a week. Oily fish has added health benefits. If you sometimes use breaded fish for convenience, oven-bake instead of deep-fat frying.
    • Buy more tinned fish, choose tinned in brine or tomato sauce. If you buy fish tinned in oil, drain it well before use.
    • Chicken and turkey are low-fat choices as long as the skin is not e deep-fat fried.
    • If prepared sauces (for example tinned or in jars) are regularly on your shopping list, look at the label and choose those lowest in fat. Try making your own, that way you can reduce the fat content even more.
    • Buy low-fat alternatives for cream, mayonnaise and high-fat dressings and use in small amounts. Greek or natural yogurt or low fat from age fries for desserts and in salad dressings is a lower fat choice.


Sugar and sugary foods and drinks are an energy source providing calories for energy but often few other nutrients.

Keeping an eye on the amount of sugary snacks eaten between meals is particularly important for good dental health for children.

Sugary snacks and drinks taken frequently throughout the day are a major contributing factor to tooth decay.

    • Buy lots of fruit and have it regularly as treats between meals.
    • Have sugary foods at the end of a meal, this will help reduce frequency throughout the day.
    • Choose other healthy snacks for children such as popcorn, yogurt, scones, pizza fingers, breakfast cereals (which are not coated in sugar or honey), and peanuts (not advised for children under five years due to the risk of choking).
    • Choose sugar-free drinks instead of sugary drinks.


    • Use black pepper more often as an alternative flavoring to salt.
    • Buy garlic, ginger and onion to add flavor to cooked dishes.
    • Use spices more often to reduce the amount of salt you add to cooked dishes such as casseroles and curries.
    • Look out for herbs, fresh and dried and add to salads and cooked meals. Potted herb plants, e.g basil, cost only a little more than ready-cut packets and last longer.
    • Experiment with new flavorings. Read recipes in magazines and recipe books for ideas. Try the Orange and Ginger Fish Bake recipe.


Your food keeps you fit and healthy if what you eat balances with your body’s energy needs. Getting the balance right is what healthy eating guidelines are all about.

There are no good or bad foods but how you combine foods together each day and each week is important. All foods can be enjoyed as part of a healthy eating plan if they are eaten in reasonable amounts.

Base your shopping on fresh foods as far as possible, but remember processed foods can be nourishing as well as convenient – especially frozen Vegetables and Fruit, tinned Vegetables and Fruit and convenience foods like pizza.

    • A good rule of thumb is that plain items are usually the lowest in calories, fat and often price. Batters and breadcrumbs add fat and calories, especially if deep-fat fried. Oven bake for a lower fat choice.
    • Prepared meals tend to be expensive although they’re handy to have in the freezer for an emergency.
    • Check the fat content and buy lower fat choices.


    • Put Fruit and Vegetables at the top of your shopping list. Vegetables, especially those in season, are the most economical choice, so buy lots of these.
    • Colour is a good guide when buying Fruit and Vegetables. The dark green and orange colored Fruits and Vegetables are rich sources of vitamins A, C and E. Add these to your shopping trolley regularly.
    • Root vegetables have very little waste and can be stored for a longer time than green, leafy vegetables.
    • Buy Fruit and Vegetables in the season when they are cheapest. Check the box below.
    • Buy vegetables lose, they usually work out cheaper than pre-packed bags. You can pick the best quality and buy exactly the amount you need.
    • Fruit is often sold in bulk at special prices, for example, 10 apples at 99p. These can be good value and are the perfect size for lunch boxes.
    • Frozen Vegetables and Fruit are very convenient and just as nourishing as fresh. It is best to buy frozen Vegetables and Fruit last, so that you can get them to the freezer quickly.
    • Tinned vegetables are a quick, nutritious, convenience food. If buying tinned fruit, tinned in its own juice is the best choice. But all fruit is good for you.
    • Look out for supermarket “own brands”. They are often cheaper. Check for special offers on tinned fruit, vegetables and frozen vegetables.
    • Tinned tomatoes are a very good buy. They can be used as a base for sauces or soups, as a topping for pizza, or used to stretch ready-made or home-made sauces.
    • Choose fruit juice in preference to fruit flavored drinks. Fruit flavored drinks may be cheaper but unless they are low in sugar and have added vitamin C, they are not as nourishing. Buy fruit juice and dilute it with a little water to make it go further.
    • Remember, by buying from local Fruit and Vegetable vans and green-grocers you are supporting local employment. If transport is a problem, local shops will often deliver to your doorstep.
    • Look out for Fruit and Vegetables special offers in your local supermarkets.


    • Brussel Sprouts
    • Cucumbers
    • Kiwi
    • Parsnips
    • Rhubarb
    • Beetroot
    • Blackberries
    • Blackcurrants
    • Broad Beans
    • Broccoli
    • Courgettes
    • Cucumbers
    • French Beans
    • Gooseberries
    • Kiwi
    • Nectarines
    • Peaches
    • Peas
    • Plums
    • Radish
    • Raspberries
    • Rhubarb
    • Salad Onions
    • Spinach
  • Strawberries
    • Beetroot
    • Broad Beans
    • Broccoli
    • Brussel Sprouts
    • Courgettes
    • Cucumbers
    • Curly Kale
    • French Beans
    • Parsnips
    • Peaches
    • Peas
    • Plums
    • Radish
    • Raspberries
    • Runner Beans
    • Salad Onions
    • Spinach
  • Strawberries
    • Broccoli
    • Brussel Sprouts
    • Curly Kale
    • Parsnips
    • Salad Onions
    • Satsumas
    • Spinach
  • Tangerines


    • Apples
    • Bananas
    • Cabbage
    • Carrots
    • Cauliflower
    • Celery
    • Grapefruit
  • Grapes
    • Leeks
    • Lettuce
    • Mushrooms
    • Onions
    • Oranges
    • Pears
    • Potatoes
    • Swedes
    • Tomatoes
  • Turnips
  • Design

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