When shopping for groceries, we already know the importance of reading labels and checking ingredients. Countless food items—both packaged and unpackaged—are rife with added sodium, preservatives, gums, syrups, and ingredients you can barely pronounce.
Beyond ingredients, many common grocery goods also harm the environment or aren’t Fairtrade, meaning they don’t allow for local farmers to receive a fair living wage.
As residents of our beautiful planet earth, it’s our responsibility to watch what we consume, not just for our health, but for the environment and our local farmers.
From the perimeter to the middle aisles, we’ve rounded up some of the most nutritious, delicious and eco-conscious foods for your next grocery list.
What is Perimeter Shopping?
Simply put, the idea behind perimeter shopping is to keep you away from the processed and packaged foods found in the middle of a store and instead keep you in the perimeter, where the fresh foods are.
Of course, this isn’t a rigid principle, and these days you’ll find a decent blend of “clean” and less-clean foods no matter which aisle you’re in. But the endgame remains the same: Try to stick to locally made foods containing fresh, natural ingredients.
Fruits and Veggies
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We’re all familiar with buying organic, but it’s not the only way to shop healthy! Since organic produce can often be expensive, shopping local is another great option if you don’t want to break the bank.
According to the David Suzuki Foundation, the average meal travels 1,200 kilometres from farm to plate. Those organic strawberries at your favourite grocery store might be labeled organic, but if they were grown and sourced 1,000s of kilometers away, you can expect their carbon footprint to be large.
Fruits and vegetables grown closer to home produce fewer transportation emissions, are fresher, and support local farmers. They also taste better!
You also want to make sure you’re shopping for fruits in the correct season. Fruits that are out of season in your country will have to travel farther to reach you, and may be given pesticides to keep them from rotting.
Since we live in a colder climate here in Canada, grapefruits, pears, pineapples and mandarins are tasty, winter-friendly choices.
If you’re craving something new in the produce aisle, why not add figs to your grocery bag? Researchers have found that figs are packed with antioxidants and can help protect your liver, improve digestion and lower blood glucose levels.
Nuts and Seeds
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Nuts and seeds are very good for you, but are often harvested and packaged in less-than-favourable conditions. Your best bet to bypass any unsavoury pesticides or packaging is to shop at your local organic grocery store or farmers’ market.
We love these Raw Organic Hazelnuts from Canadian business, PRANA! Pick them up from any grocery store near you. Hazelnuts in particular are a perfect environmental nut type, as they require less water, isolate carbon, and reduce soil erosion and nitrogen pollution.
Photo - Jonathan Borba-unsplash
Shopping for bread can sometimes be overwhelming, as there’s a ton of choice. You can never go wrong with 100% whole wheat (but be sure to check that “100% whole wheat” is the first ingredient on the list!), or whole grain sourdough. But our favourite has to be flax bread, one of the healthiest bread types you can buy.
Made with whole grain flours and flax seeds, flax bread contains plant-based omega-3 fatty acids that promote good heart health, and compounds called lignans that may help protect against certain cancers.
We recommend Ezekiel 4:9’s Flax Sprouted Whole Grain bread from Food For Life, as it features an impressively healthy ingredient list (including lentils and organic sprouted soybeans), is non-GMO, and made with a unique slow-bake process to preserve the natural fiber and bran benefits of grains.
Organic Grass-fed Meats
While health experts advise that a plant-based diet is better for the environment, it’s still possible to adopt a “flexitarian” diet AND do your part for the planet.
According to Healthline, a flexitarian diet is a style of eating that encourages mostly plant-based foods while allowing meat and other animal products in moderation.
When shopping for meats like beef, always look for grass-fed. This is because grass-fed beef may contain less total fat than grain-fed, but a lot more omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which are both linked to health benefits.
There you have it! Now that you’ve got your grocery list, bring your goods home with you in our sturdy and functional Canvas Multipurpose Tote Bag.
It’s made with 100% organic cotton, is free of dyes and chemicals, and safer for your home and the environment. It also has interior pockets to help separate items like glass bottles.
Shop the Takasa Canvas Tote Bag