Last month I had my first introduction of the PC Guiding Stars program and I absolutely loved how easy the system was to use. Simply look for foods with one, two or three stars to ensure you’re making healthy choices for your family. The more stars a food has, the more nutritionally dense it is. Since learning about the Guiding Stars, I wanted to go further and improve my eating habits with help from the program. So I signed into my free PC Plus account and opened my Guiding Stars profile to see what improvements I could make.
As it turned out, I was already at the highest possible level, a Level 5! We tend to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables in the house along with lots of lean protein, so it was exciting to see that those habits were ones that the Guiding Stars program recognized as healthful. But I knew we could do even better, so I set out to substitute some of our usual weekly purchases for products with higher stars.
I started with the dairy section. My boys love yogurt but the President’s Choice Strawberry and Blueberry Greek Yogurt I was buying only had a two star rating. I decided instead to buy plain Greek yogurt and add berries to it for them. That way they got more nutrition and less sugar…plus an extra star! Then I moved to the meats. My usual choices, which include boneless, skinless chicken breast, strips of sirloin and pork tenderloin, already had quite good ratings. But there was one meat product I knew I could improve because I’d avoided making the change before: ground beef. I love lean ground beef and didn’t want to risk dissatisfaction by choosing extra lean. But since lean ground beef has no stars at all, I took the plunge and upgraded my ground beef purchase!
After that it was time to check out the fruits and vegetables. These are always one of my biggest purchases and most of them already have the three stars that I was striving for, but I still wanted to see if I could make a few improvements. I found one almost immediately in the bananas. I often buy mini bananas for my boys instead of the full sized variety because they like the cute size. But when I saw that regular bananas had three stars and mini bananas had just two, I decided it was time to stick with regular bananas from now on!
My youngest son was delighted that the sweet corn he loves had a three star rating, so we stocked up on that. I also bought carrots, celery, peppers, onions and mushrooms; all our usual vegetables boasted a three star rating. I wanted potatoes too, but the red potatoes I generally purchase actually have one less star than white potatoes, so I decided to make another change!
Finally, I headed to the bread section. I don’t eat a lot of bread, but I do like making sure that the bread I choose for my boys has as many nutrients as possible. I usually stick with classic Old Mill 100% Whole Wheat sliced bread. But when I saw that Wonder Bread 100% Whole Wheat plus Fibre sliced bread had three stars and Old Mill had just two, I decided upgrading just made sense.
With my groceries purchased and my star count increased by five, I headed home happy to check into my account. One of the things I especially like about the Guiding Stars program is that I can check in each week to see how many overall stars were in my shopping cart and then try to beat that goal in the coming weeks. And with a few simple food substitutions, it’s not hard to do!
If you’re not a PC Plus member yet, make sure to sign up for your free account so that you can see how healthy your purchases are. And as an added bonus, you’ll start earning points towards free groceries every time you swipe your card! With help from your Guiding Stars profile, you’ll see that eating healthy can be as easy as looking to the stars when you shop!