In this section, we provide you with some tips on what to put in your "great shape" shopping trolley. Here is a handy tip to start with - never go shopping on an empty stomach and always go prepared with a shopping list.
Fruit and vegetables
All fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables are good, so aim to pile your trolley high with a wide variety of these goodies.
Dried fruit is fine, but go easy on the amount you eat. Dried fruit is higher in energy (kilojoules/calories) than fresh fruit per gram. A small handful of dried fruit as a snack is fine.
Choose juices made from 100% fruit with no added sugar. And just like dried fruit, go easy on the amount you drink, as it is fairly high in energy. To reduce the energy (kilojoule/calorie) content, try diluting your juice with half water before drinking.
Milk and dairy
Choose low fat (or skim) milk and yogurt. ‘Diet’ yogurt is another good choice.
Choose reduced fat cheeses with less than 25g fat per 100g and limit the amount of cheese you eat, as it has a higher fat content than milk and yogurt.
Select low fat custard and a light & creamy ice cream.
Breads, cereals, grains and legumes
Add variety and taste to your meals by varying the types of breads you eat. There are so many different types to choose from nowadays...pita, pocket, Turkish, pumpernickel, sourdough, rye, soy and linseed, 9-grain, fruit loaf, wholemeal…the list is endless.
Choose tasty breakfast cereals with a high fibre content (i.e. 3g dietary fibre per serve or more) and a low fat content (i.e. 3g fat per 100g or less).
Add some grains like wheat, rice, oats, barley, maize (corn), rye, millet and triticale to your shopping list. They can easily be added to soups and stews, or used to make your own breakfast cereals and home-baked breads.
Fill up the shopping trolley with a variety of legumes like split peas, lentils, chick peas, red kidney beans, navy (haricot) beans, four bean mix and baked beans. If you don’t have the time to soak and cook legumes, go for canned varieties (located in the canned food section of the supermarket), or those packed in vacuum sealed bags, (often found in the health food section of the supermarket).
Fats and oils
For your sandwiches, choose reduced fat, polyunsaturated or monounsaturated margarine spreads. Use only a small amount to spread on your bread and toast.
Choose a monounsaturated oil (e.g. olive, canola, monola) or polyunsaturated oil (e.g. sunflower, soybean) for your cooking and use in small amounts only. Cooking oil sprays can help cut down the amount of fat you use in your cooking.
Choose ‘low fat’ or ‘diet’ salad dressings, mayonnaise and sauces.
Meat, fish, eggs and nuts
The key is to choose lean cuts of the meat like lean steak, trim beef mince, veal, rabbit, Trim Lamb, New Fashioned Pork, kangaroo, skinless chicken breast and turkey breast.
Choose a variety of fresh, frozen or canned fish (e.g. tuna, salmon or sardines in spring water or a low fat sauce). Aim to eat at least two fish meals a week.
Fresh or frozen seafood like prawns, crab, lobster, oysters, scallops, octopus and calamari is delicious and low in fat – provided you don’t fry it in oil or smother it in a creamy sauce.
Eggs are rich in protein and only the yolk of an egg contains fat – the white of an egg is fat free. Eating eggs while controlling your weight is fine, but if you are watching your fat intake, go easy on the number of egg yolks you eat each week.
Nuts are relativity high in fat and kilojoules, so don´t eat them too often. Eating a small handful of unsalted nuts occasionally is fine.
Reading food labels
Reading food labels and interpreting all the information on-pack can be a daunting task. Here are some pointers to help you read and interpret the information on food labels.
- 5g fat is equal to one teaspoon of fat (picture a teaspoon of butter). If a food says it has 30g fat per serve, that’s equivalent to eating about six about teaspoons of butter! That’s a lot of fat in one serve, so look for a lower fat version
- 5g sugar is equal to one teaspoon of sugar. If a can of soft drink has 40g sugar - that’s like eating eight teaspoons of sugar. Consider another type of drink or a diet soft drink if you are trying to watch your kilojoule/calorie intake
- Foods with a ‘high fibre’ claim contain at least 3g fibre per recommended serving size. Foods with a ‘very high fibre’ claim contain at least 6g fibre per recommended serving size
- Buy ‘low fat’ or ‘reduced fat’ dairy products like milk, cheese, yogurt, custard and ice cream. ‘Diet’ fruit yogurt is another good choice as it has a substantially reduced kilojoule/calorie content
- Don’t assume that all foods displaying the word ‘light’ are low in fat or kilojoules/calories. The term ‘Light’ or ‘Lite’ on a food label may also mean the food is light in fat, light in salt, light in colour, or even light in taste. The characteristic which makes the food ‘light’ must be stated on the label, so take a closer look to see what it really means before putting it in the trolley