Grocery Cart Makeover: The Downes Family
The challenge: Karen's toddler, three-year-old Gryffin, and her husband, Jesse, have opposite eating styles. Gryffin usually wants frozen chicken nuggets or boxed mac and cheese, foods that Jesse can't have because he has Ménière's disease and must consume less than 1,000 milligrams of sodium a day. As such, Jesse has had to sacrifice many of his favourite snacks and flavourings. The family needs tips on how to make his bland diet more satisfying and tasty, plus ideas for quick nutritious meals they can all eat -- a tricky feat considering that Gryffin shuns most fruit and veggies and favours processed food.
The experts: To the rescue is Jennifer House, a registered dietitian and the owner of First Step Nutrition in Calgary, and Mairlyn Smith, a Toronto-based professional home economist and an award-winning cookbook author. They weighed in on Karen's grocery shop and advised how she can make her choices work harder for the family. Here's what our experts said about The Downes' grocery list.
The Downes' Shopping List
Weight Watchers 100% Whole Wheat Bread
Karen: This is Jesse's bread. We buy it because it has less sodium than many other loaves.
The makeover: This is a good choice. Gram for gram, Weight Watchers bread has the same amount of sodium as standard store-bought bread, says House, but its slices are 50 percent thinner, making it seem lower in salt. A smaller serving can be a good thing, and two slices have five grams of fibre. To get more whole grains, Jesse could try Silver Hills Bakery Little Big Bread; the size of its slices and its sodium and fibre content are on par with his current choice, but it's more nutrient-dense.
Boneless chicken breasts
Karen: Jesse and I have chicken baked in the oven or added to stir-fries a few times a week.
The makeover: Stop making separate meals and try an easy supper that you, Jesse and Gryffin can enjoy: burgers. For patties low in saturated fat, use extra-lean ground turkey, says Smith. Mix turkey with two cloves of minced garlic, one medium diced onion, one tablespoon of canola oil and a quarter cup of crushed Ryvita crackers. Form into burgers, then grill. Lay out different toppings -- Gryffin might like cheese, tomatoes and ketchup -- so everyone can customize their meal.
Do you struggle with making healthy choices at the grocery store and want your cart made over by our experts? Email your story to email@example.com.
Product photography (in basket), Ryan Brook.