What grocery stores in Canada carry healthy(er) foods?
January 3, 2008 9:50 AM   Subscribe

What grocery stores in Canada carry healthy(er) foods?

Mr. Irishkitten here:

I recently moved from the USA to Canada (Ottawa specifically) and am having a rough time finding some of the healthier foods that I regularly bought in the states. The most confounding part of this is that what I'm looking for isn't that out of the ordinary.

What I'm looking for are simple things like turkey sausage, turkey bacon, fat free cheese, light (or fat free) salad dressings or marinades, and even things like light macaroni and cheese. I'm not interested in Soy cubes, organic produce, or anything that's typically found in specialty stores. Just stuff that I'm used to finding in local grocery stores.

Are there any Canadian grocery chains that keep these sort of things in stock? I've found some of them here and there but never all in one store and never regularly stocked. There's an A&P and a Loblaws near me but neither one have enough of these sorts of items to fill my list.
posted by irishkitten to Food & Drink (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Hmmm. I am surprised that the Loblaws doesn't carry these items. You are right - this is pretty standard fare. The ones here in Montreal carry these items nearly all the time.

How big are the grocery stores you are going to? Is the Loblaws that you are going to a standard sized grocery store (i.e. pretty darn big)? Perhaps, if it is possible, you should try a different Loblaws, if it is possible.

Good luck!
posted by bitteroldman at 9:57 AM on January 3, 2008

There are "healthier" sections" in Loblaws and Metro here, north of Montreal. Most of what you list could be found. The President Choice brand even includes some of these items. And don't hesitate to talk with employees in the store; I was once able to get a product added to their aisle (thai curry) which they first did not carry.
posted by ddaavviidd at 10:08 AM on January 3, 2008

I'd try a different Loblaws. There are many very large Loblaws in the Ottawa area and I imagine you can find those items at some of the bigger ones. Some of the bigger ones are now called some variation on something-something-Superstore. A&P tends to have smaller stores, so those probably aren't your best bet. There are really only three grocery companies operating in the Ottawa area: Loblaws, Loeb (which owns A&P), and Sobeys, so if for some reason the first two don't work for you, you could try Sobeys.
posted by ssg at 10:09 AM on January 3, 2008

Ottawa grocery stores typically have an organic produce section and tofu, as well as lots of things you are used to seeing in specialty stores. I think I've seen most of the things you mention in the downtown grocery stores I frequent, but I can't make any guarantees as I don't normally buy those things.

Besides A&P and Loblaws (and Your Independent Grocer, which carries mostly Loblaw's stuff), Ottawa has Loeb and Sobey's as major grocery stores (am I missing anything, other Ottawans?). If it's just your store that doesn't have it (I've been told stores vary their inventory depending on the neighbourhood), you can try asking the manager to stock it. Enough requests and it might get added.
posted by cardboard at 10:11 AM on January 3, 2008

Yup, all this stuff is common. Maybe you are just not accustomed to the brands/packaging to look for. (Incidentally, if "soy cubes" = tofu, then that and organic produce are sold at regular grocery stores as well.)
posted by loiseau at 10:19 AM on January 3, 2008

Call the local health authority or Dial-A-Dietitian. A few minutes on the phone will probably point you to the right places. When I lived in Ottawa, I had no trouble finding healthy fare, especially if I went down to the Byward Market. But perhaps the store near you puts things in a different aisle or the foods are in packages you don't recognize.
posted by acoutu at 10:34 AM on January 3, 2008

I am not a fan of most of what you mention, but I am an Ottawan and a foodie, so let me try. Farm Boy is fantastic and has a big, and reportedly nice (am vegetarian; have no idea) deli section. The Herb and Spice is one of the nicer health food stores. Rainbow Foods ditto; large, pricy though.

Whereabouts, exactly, are you shopping? Some of the downtown stores can be a bit cruddy compared to their suburban counterparts. But even the Hartman's has a little section for health-foody stuff -- have you actually found the separate section, or are you just looking at the regular stuff? They segregate for some reason...

Ottawafoodies.com is a great resource for tracking down grocery what-not, too.
posted by kmennie at 10:37 AM on January 3, 2008

I don't remember if there's a big Jewish population in Ottawa, but if you can find a grocery store in a "Jewish neighbourhood" those will stock turkey products, like sausage and bacon, more often. But really, you should be able to get those things at any large Loblaws. Try a bigger store: more square footage == more selection.
posted by GuyZero at 11:00 AM on January 3, 2008

One thing to look for in your Loblaws will be 'Blue Menu' products -- they're President's Choice products that have lower fat, lower calorie or lower salt profiles compared to similar, regular PC products.

I find it hard to imagine that you grocery store doesn't have *any* fat free or low fat salad dressings, but in general, the number of brands and flavour varieties within each brand will be much lower in Canada than you're accustomed to in the US.
posted by jacquilynne at 11:04 AM on January 3, 2008

I haven't had much of a problem finding turkey bacon at any grocery store. I haven't spent as much time looking for turkey sausage, but I have seen it at Remark where I live (I am not sure if there is one in Ottawa, or anywhere besides London) and, I think, Costco. Light salad dressing are everywhere, though-- I am very surprised that you can't find those.

I don't know that fat-free cheese is available anywhere in Canada. Reduced fat, yes, but I don't think I have ever seen fat-free cheese (except for cottage cheese) in Canada, unless you mean "Kraft singles" type stuff (and I suspect you don't).
posted by synecdoche at 11:06 AM on January 3, 2008

Loblaws and Superstore are the same company, right? If so, I never have a problem finding turkey bacon, low-fat dressing and the like at Superstore. Turkey sausage is more hit-and-miss, as poultry in Canada is usually sold regionally and pretty much every piece of supermarket poultry in my neck of the woods is Lilydale. I can buy all the chicken breast I want (which is none) but turkey sausage is a 50/50 shot hereabouts. Availability will depend on who the local poultry supplier is to your local outlets.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 11:24 AM on January 3, 2008

The food basics around here seem to have all the turkey bacon/sausage variants... the turkey sausages are actually really good, but I think they might be made for the local stores only.
posted by glip at 2:21 PM on January 3, 2008

If you want to give GuyZero's advice a try, hit up the Carlingwood Loblaws.

I am also surprised that you've had a hard time finding this stuff. I remember seeing much of what you listed (though I was not looking for it) while doing my grocery shopping. I usually shopped at the South Keys Loblaws.
posted by benign at 4:52 PM on January 3, 2008

Try a Wal-Mart that has a grocery/frozen food section. I don't know if they sell those items you mention specifically, however, it seems to me they carry a lot of produce you'd find in the States.
posted by KathyK at 6:43 AM on January 7, 2008

« Older buying a laptop in Bangkok   |   Is it possible to have a normal relationship after... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.