Healthy eating is easier if you plan what you buy. Select wholesome and nutritious foods and beware of packaging flaws or food that is not stored safely.

Here are some tips to help you make healthy food choices when shopping.

  1. Make a list. Before you go food shopping, plan your meals for the week.

  2. Choose the low-fat option. For example, select low-fat milk, cheese, yoghurt, salad dressings and gravies.

  3. Buy leaner cuts of meat. If unsure, look for the Heart Foundation tick of approval.

  4. Opt for ‘skin off’. Chicken skin contains loads of calories and saturated fat, so skinless chicken breasts are a healthier choice.

  5. Beware of salt hidden in processed meats. Limit your consumption of salami, ham, corned beef, bacon, smoked salmon, frankfurts and chicken loaf.

  6. Purchase fresh or frozen vegetables. Canned and pickled vegetables tend to be high in added salt.

  7. Check the date. Avoid the risk of eating unsafe perishable foods, especially chilled or frozen items. A ‘use-by’ date shows the date by which a product should be consumed, while a ‘best before’ date indicates the date until which the food will remain at its best quality.

  8. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. When transporting food between the supermarket and your home, make sure high-risk foods (such as meats, dairy products and seafood) are kept out of the ‘temperature danger zone’. Store them below 5 °C or above 60 °C.

  9. Look for food bargains. Bulk-buy nutritious meal ingredients at markets and supermarkets. Non-perishable options with long shelf lives include dried vegetables, beans, legumes and dried pasta.

  10. Limit takeaway and convenience foods. These are expensive, high in fat, high in salt and low in nutrition, and leave you hungry again a few hours after you eat them.

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This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by: Better Health Channel

Last updated: September 2012

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