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The worst places to shop at the grocery store

The worst places to shop in the grocery store

This might seem obvious, but shouldn’t grocery shopping be an easy thing to do?

Winding your way down the isles and filling your cart with what you want for the week.

You’d be shocked how many people have no idea where to begin.

This is why you may be shopping in the wrong places in the grocery store.

Marketers like to tell us what to buy, but what we need to purchase doesn’t require any special marketing.

Here’s my guide to Smart Shopping.

Smart Grocery Shopping

The Crappity Crap Zone: The Centre Isles
This single area has the most junk in the entire store. It is the danger zone as it is also the area which contains the most marketing making you think you’re buying healthy food. The least of your shopping should be done in here. This is the zone of processed “food” and instant fixes. There are very few healthy items in the Crappity Crap Zone.

Centre Isle in Grocery Store

Examples of what to look for in the Crappity Crap Zone:

  • Vinegar
  • Oils
  • Spices
  • Olives
  • Organic broths
  • Beans and lentils
  • Whole grain pastas
  • Organic Frozen Vegetables/Fruit

The Crappy Zone: The Deli
Processed meat is not good for you. Period. It’s high in sodium, saturated fats, and full of nitrates. According to a recent report in the Globe and Mail, there are more and more studies linking high intake of processed meats to colorectal cancer. This area of the grocery store usually has take-home meals ready. If you are in pinch, you may find a few better choice, quick grabs.


Examples of what to look for in the Crappy Zone:

  • Hummus
  • Guacamole
  • Salads such as quinoa or Greek

The Crap Zone: The Bakery
They trap you with delicious scents of baked goods, and marketing trickery of smart breads.  Avoid anything enriched, white, whole wheat, or multi-grain. Look for whole grain and, even better is, sprouted grain. When I don’t have time to make my own sprouted grain bread, I buy Silver Hills. If you need gluten free, Silver Hills has it. My second choice for GF is Udi’s (again, read the labels).

Bakery Section

Examples of what to look for in this Crap Zone:

  • Whole grain tortillas
  • Sprouted Grain breads
  • Whole Wheat pita’s (I haven’t found these in whole grain)
  • Whole grain thin buns

The Crap Zone: Beverages
Juice is good for your right? If you have freshly made the juice yourself, and it consists of primarily organic vegetables, yes. What you buy in store… no. When it comes to juice think of it this way, you cannot eat 10 oranges, but you can drink them. Juice is a hit of sugar. Natural sugar, but sugar all the same.

Beverage and Juice Section

Examples of what to look for in this Crap Zone:

  • If you do need a juice, look for organic, no sugar or artificial sugar added, and it should have a short expiry.

The Crap Zone: Dairy
In Canada, it is illegal to use growth hormones so one good thing is dairy produced here are free of added growth hormones. However, dairy is best consumed in moderation as it is a food group that is known to cause inflammation and is quite hard to digest. Most yogurts are full of sugar or artificial sweeteners, many cheeses has dye added, and butter substitutes are made with hydrogenized oils.

Dairy Section

Examples of what to look for in this Crap Zone:

  • Organic milk
  • Organic nondairy milks (unsweetened)
  • Organic Plain Greek Yogurt (sweeten at home with fruit or maple syrup)
  • Unsweetened Organic Kefir
  • Organic Eggs (section of store varies)

The Crap Zone: Meat
Just like the dairy section, meat raised in Canada does not contain growth hormones. What’s available is often animals finished at feed lots, fish from farms, and processed convenience meats.

Meat Section

Examples of what to look for in this Crap Zone:

  • Organic meat (or find a local farmer you trust)

The Heck Ya Zone: Produce
This is where the real food is. Next to having your own garden or buying from a farmer’s market, the produce section is where your efforts (and hard earned money) goes. When you can, buy organic or choose the clean 15 and avoid the dirty dozen (see the list here). This is where you are choosing foods that feed your body.

Produce Section

Examples of what to AVOID in the heck ya zone.

  • Sneaky end displays with sugary and salty nut and fruit treats
  • Quick grab veggie dips
  • GMO tofu (look for organic) – this may or may not be in the produce area
  • Precut fruit and vegetables. The oxidation process has already begun.

You have the power to choose and make that choice count.

Rule of thumb when grocery shopping: Shop on the outside of the store first, start with the produce, and fill in where needed.


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