Jamie Oliver's Grocery Shopping Tips: 10 Ways To Improve
It's hard to pass through anything even remotely food-related these days without finding Jamie Oliver's stamp on it. The onetime "Naked Chef" has expanded his empire from the initial TV shows and cookbooks to encompass restaurants, cooking tools, a downloadable charity app and a highly political movement to change the way people eat.
But celebrity chefs aren't too hard to come by these days, so it's the latter enterprise that has the world on notice. Oliver's Food Revolution has seen him go up against governments in an attempt to have schools and whole towns eat healthier, and he was recently named more influential than the government in determining proper diet in Britain.
These attempts at reform haven't been without controversy -- some have claimed that mandated healthy food infringes on personal freedom, while others decry the higher price of Oliver's nutrition.
But when it comes to keeping things simple and fresh, there are few chefs that are walking the talk the way Oliver does. He's given the Huffington Post Canada some hints on how to grocery shop. Even if you already know the rules, as Oliver keeps showing, it can't hurt to have a refresher course.
READ: Jamie Oliver's top 10 tips for grocery shopping:
Keep Cupboards Stocked
Keep an eye out for store specials and load up on non-perishable stuff that sits in your cupboard waiting for you to come home and cook. It's good to remember that there's nothing substandard about canned tomatoes, canned fish or frozen fruits and vegetables.<br>Unless you're picking them from your garden, you'll have to go a long way to get a tastier and more nutritional pea than a frozen one.
Shop With A List
One of my favourite tricks in the <a href="http://www.jamieoliver.com/apps/" target="_hplink">20 Minute Meals Apps</a> are the shopping lists. Make sure you take an inventory of what you have in your cupboard, take a look at what's on special and what's seasonal in your local market, create your menus and list and then head off to the store.
Check Those Labels
Avoid buying anything with ingredients on the label that you can't read or pronounce. Preservatives and chemicals aren't food.
Invest In The Best You Can
If you can afford to buy high quality organic chicken and beef that has been raised humanely, then do so. If you can't, look for less expensive cuts and choose recipes that braise and stew. You can do a lot with cheaper cuts and then be able to afford higher welfare animals.
Just Say No
Don't buy junk food and fizzy drinks. No need to reinforce bad habits.
Buy Close To Home
Try to buy fruits and vegetables in season that haven't travelled too far. They're usually cheaper and tastier. Root vegetables and dark greens are great in the winter time, and if you don't fancy, don't forget frozen.
Try new things once in while. Substitute a sweet potato or a fingerling for a white potato, add a little heat with a chilli, try a shallot instead of an onion. You'll be surprised at how much more you enjoy shopping and cooking when you are exploring new things.
Make Friends With Salad
Salads should be creative and eaten every day if possible. Pick and mix different elements like soft and crunchy lettuce, herbs, veggies, cheese and various toppings. Once you've done that, simply mix them together, season, and dress the salad. See number 9.
Make Your Own Dressing
Never buy pre-made salad dressings. By dressing a salad, you can make it delicious, meaning you want to eat it, rather than feel you have to. The other good news is that your body can absorb far more nutrients from salads because of the presence of oil and acid in the dressing. I like to make dressings in empty, cleaned-out jam jars because it's so easy to see what's going on -- you can shake them up easily and any leftovers can be kept in jars in the fridge.<br>Dressings are based on a ratio: three parts oil to one part acid. So experiment with different oils, extra virgin olive oil, hazelnut or grapeseed oil and different acids, lemon, vinegars, perhaps a little mustard for flavour, and season with salt and pepper.<br> If the seasoning is there but you're finding it a little too acidic, you've cracked it, because once the dressing is on the salad leaves, it will be perfect.
Rely On Those Who Know
Get to know your butcher, baker and fishmonger. They will help you pick the best stuff at the best price. Sometimes it's worth going to three shops and a farmer's market because you have relationships with people who care about the food they are selling you.