Although you might think the favourite apps on my iPhone would be things along the lines of Style.com and the Chanel app, my favourites are actually those that focus on food. Aside from Instagram, one of the most-used apps on my phone is Epicurious. I love that forward-thinking Canadian grocery stores have been launching their own apps to enhance the shopper experience. From weekly specials to recipe ideas, these companies are bringing grocery shopping to your finger tips. As healthy eating is very important to me, I love that Metro has recently launch ‘My Healthy plate with Metro‘ on both their website and app.
As Metro puts it, nutritional information can be confusing, and My Healthy Plate can help shoppers make good choices. I connected with Metro’s dietician, Cara Rosenbloom, to ask her some questions about healthy eating and My Healthy Plate with Metro. Here’s what she had to say:
GC: Even though I consider myself a healthy eater, I definitely fall into the trap of eating comfort foods on a regular basis during the winter when it’s so cold. What are some of your suggestions for waning yourself off of heavy meals, and integrating lighter healthier meals as the weather transitions?
CR: It really depends on what types of foods give you comfort! Hearty homemade soups, stews and noodle dishes – based on whole food ingredients – can be comforting, delicious and healthy. The key for eating during any season is to cook fresh and relatively unprocessed ingredients and include as many fruits and vegetables as possible on your plate. And if you make better choices when selecting products in the grocery aisles, you can fill a healthy fridge and pantry, and cook great meals at home.
GC: What are some of the best Ontario produce for us to look out for in Metro stores as move into spring and summer?
CR: My Healthy Plate with Metro encourages shoppers to fill their carts with fresh vegetables and fruits! There are a lot of great seasonal Ontario vegetables and fruits coming into stores in the spring and summer. Foodland Ontario, a Metro partner, is an excellent resource for finding out what is in season. Be sure to check out their website at http://www.ontario.ca/foodland/foodland-ontario
GC: With busy schedules, it’s often hard to eat fresh and healthy. What are some of your top recommendations for eating fresh and healthy while on the go?
CR: Carry portable snacks with you for a boost of mid-day energy. Try baby carrots, an apple or a small handful of almonds. When dashing through the city on a busy day, skip the food court and stop at a grocery store instead. Pre-cut fruit, Greek yogurt or a simple salmon sandwich can make a great lunch on-the-go. If the food court is a must, choose options that are loaded with vegetables, and ensure that you have some protein (meat, chicken, fish, tofu, beans). Go easy on the portion size.
GC: How do you feel the ‘Good Choices’ addition to the Metro website and app will help shoppers? What makes you the most excited about it?
CR: A recent survey conducted by Metro reveals that 99 percent of Ontarians consider it important to eat healthily, however only 22 per cent said they find it easy to identify healthy options. The My Healthy Plate with Metro program helps consumers identify products that are “good choices” and “great choices,” clearly identified by a red smile on the products’ price tags. It’s a simple and effective way to find the healthier option in a given category. It will help guide shoppers to fill their grocery carts with the healthiest options in the store, and the accompanying website recipes will inspire them to cook using healthy ingredients.
GC: What are some of your top tips for transforming your not-so healthy eating and shopping habits into healthy ones?
CR: I have five tips:
- Take a grocery store tour with a registered dietitian to learn how to read ingredient lists and Nutrition Facts panels with a critical eye.
- Fill your cart with foods found around the perimeter of the store, such as vegetables, fruit, whole grain bread, dairy products, and fresh meat and fish.
- Learn the difference between convenient “packaged foods” such as whole grain pasta, canned no-salt-added beans and frozen broccoli; and “processed foods” such as frozen dinners, pop and cookies.
- When shopping at Metro, pay attention to the “good choice” and “great choice” smiles and fill your cart with healthier options in each food category.
- Use the fresh foods that you buy to cook from scratch using recipes from www.metro.ca.
GC: Can you please share 2 or 3 or your favourite My Healthy Plate recipes that you think everyone must try?
GC: What’s the difference between a “good choice” and a “great choice” when choosing between Metro products with the help of the My Healthy Plate program?
CR: The same criteria are applied for the selection of “good choices” and “great choices” products and take shape according to product categories; however, the “great choices” have higher requirements. The great choices are stricter (ie even more fibre, even less sugar, etc.) than the good choices.
GC: In general, what should a “healthy” plate look like?
CR: A great plate will be filled with 1/2 vegetables, ¼ protein and ¼ whole grains. Add some healthy fat and a glass of water, and you’ve got a great meal!
GC: What are your hopes for how the My Healthy Plate initiative will affect the way Ontarians will shop and eat? How do you think it will/can be best used on a day-to-day basis?
CR: “Good choice” and “great choice”’ products are identified by a smile label on the shelf price tags – this is a simple and fun way to find the healthier options in a given category. It takes the confusion out of shopping and makes it fun and easy!
The hope is that Ontarians will learn to make healthy choices, eat more vegetables and fruit, and cook more often.
GC: Do you have any alarming nutrition facts that we all should know but probably don’t?
CR: Quite simply, there is no magic bullet or shortcut to health. Wellness is about eating whole foods, staying fit, getting enough rest and smiling more often.
Doesn’t My Healthy Plate with Metro make you want to go grocery shopping or what? For your chance to WIN a $100 Metro gift card, all you have to do is:
– FOLLOW: @GracieCarroll on Twitter
– COMMENT: below once complete, be sure to leave a relevant email address so I can contact you if you win!
Contest closes at 11:59pm EST on Sunday May 11th, 2014.