I’m on a new journey to learn more about the PC Guiding Stars program and how I can use it to make better nutritional choices. My first step was to register my PC Plus card so I could track the food I was purchasing and see how well I was doing trying to use the #PC Guiding Stars. My most recent step was to meet with a dietitian at my local Loblaw’s store.
At first I was a bit sceptical about what I could learn – I thought I knew everything about making healthy choices! However, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I discovered during my consult and guided tour through the store.
Since I’ve been collecting PC Points and monitoring guiding stars I’ve learned about how to track my buying habits. The guiding stars dashboard helps me see how my choices add up. I’m actually doing pretty well with over 50% of my purchases stars rated.
It doesn’t mean that I always making the right decision but it’s a great place to start. You might be surprised by what you find.
The guiding stars program is a tool to make it easier to choose healthy foods for your family. But it isn’t a complete replacement for using your judgement. By understanding what the guiding stars are intended to do you can adapt your menu items to help you find the balance between healthy food options and feeding your family food they enjoy eating.
Here’s what I learned.
Meeting with a dietitian is a good idea – and it’s Free!!
- Take advantage of customized tours of the store and seminars for individuals and groups.
- Get advice on a wide range of topics such as eating healthy for the heart, good choices for diabetics, food intolerances such as gluten free diets and moms to be as well as cooking classes for how to use specific ingredients such as Chia and Hemp Seeds.
- Learn about the guiding stars program and ways to use it.
The stars are meant as a guide, you still need to use your own judgement!
- The difference between 1-3 stars usually means something has been added
- Did you know that plain yogurt already has sugar in it? That is OK and earns my Organic Olympic Yogurt 3 Stars.
- But my sons favorite organic vanilla flavored yogurt only gets one star, because the added flavour has sugar in it.
- I’m not going to stop buying my 1 star yogurt because my son loves it for breakfast. However, I am going to try to find more opportunities to use the plain yogurt, i.e. use it in smoothies instead of flavored yogurt.
Salt is not your friend
- Did you know breads don’t usually get many stars because they often have a lot of salt?
- I was happy to learn that my favourite wrap get three points for its use of whole grain. I can eat this bread, but need to watch that I’m not pairing it with high sodium processed meats.
My favourite wrap
Meat and Protein are star-worthy!
- If you don’t see the star ranking at your meat department just ask them for their star ranking guide. It shows you great options format cuts of meat. There is also a guide for fish.
- Turkey is a great choice but so is skinless chicken and lean ground beef.
- Processed meats are convenient and tasty but due to the high fat and salt content, they don’t get any stars. It doesn’t mean they should be off your list forever, rather you should try to make other choices on a regular basis.
No stars? There are a few reasons why
- The food has been rated but doesn’t meet the standards to receive a star.
- The food is not rated. Some foods and products are not rated if they have less than five calories, and others that are made in the store with varied ingredients also do not receive stars (i.e., deli items, sushi, etc.)
- Planning a weekly menu helps you create a specific shopping list. You should always shop with a list.
- Having the food you need on hand to prepare meals greatly reduces the impulse to order in or pick up fast food.
Most important is to find the right balance, and start making great choices today! If you haven’t already, sign up today and start learning @ https://www.pcplus.ca/