NZ Whole Food Shopping Guide

Download a copy of the shopping guide here:

This guide is overdue for an update. Products are constantly changing. If you find anything that can be added (or should be taken off) this list, please email me.

This list is designed to serve as a guide for shopping in supermarkets and health food stores. You are encouraged to avoid all fast foods and processed foods and to prepare what you eat yourself. Where possible, brand names have been given, but there may be some names missed.

Good health begins with plants & animals raised in healthy ways (eg. free range and organic); & that are either fresh, or processed so that the nutrients in them are preserved or enhanced. Look for fresh, minimally processed & organic foods like:

  • Fresh proteins – Meats, seafood, eggs, whole milk products
  • Unrefined carbohydrates – Whole grains or flours (in small amounts), legumes, vegetables, fruits
  • Stable fats & oils – Butter, coconut products, nuts, seeds, extra virgin olive oil
  • Natural flavourings – Sea salt, herbs & spices, whole food sweeteners such as raw honey, pure maple syrup, molasses

Good health also requires avoiding foods that are either empty or harmful. As a rule of thumb, the closer the food is to its natural state, the better it is. Most fast foods, or foods that are processed or pre-prepared, are unhealthy. If a food comes in a packet or tin, get into the habit of flipping it over and reading the ingredients. These are the main things you want to avoid:

  • Sugars – including sucrose, glucose, fructose, dextrose, golden syrup, corn syrup, concentrated fruit juice
  • Refined carbohydrates – such as white flour, white rice, grains that have been puffed or flaked
  • Soy products such as soy milk, yoghurt or cheese; tofu; vegetable protein; soy flour & protein powders. (Normal processing doesn’t neutralise their anti-nutrients, so only eat fermented products such as tempeh, miso & tamari)
  • Dangerous fats – such as margarines and commercial, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils
  • Artificial sweeteners – eg. aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal), sucralose (Splenda), saccharin, cyclamate, acesulfame-K
  • Additives – such as artificial flavourings or colourings, MSG (often called natural flavour) and limit preservatives as much as possible
  • Pesticides or GE foods – Full identification of GE foods is outside the scope of this guide, but I have marked some foods with a ^ sign. This indicates that the manufacturer has stated that the foods are GE free, or that they are committed to changing to GE free. Where the foods are not marked, it doesn’t necessarily mean they contain GE ingredients, it may just mean I don’t know. Organic foods should be free of both pesticides and GE materials (even if not marked).

If you have a serious health problem, try to eat 100% from the “Best” column, avoiding anything noted as “treats”. For many people, it won’t be necessary to be quite as strict, but the more you eat from the “Best” column, the better. Where you can’t afford the “Best”, or they are not available, “Compromise” foods are still a lot better than many other foods. But “Avoid” foods are best not eaten at all. Also, remember that everybody has individual requirements, and it is up to you to find the foods from this list that work best for you. Avoid foods that you are allergic, intolerant or addicted to, even if they are organic and unprocessed. But don’t be too hard on yourself. If you eat all whole foods at home, when you go out with friends you can probably afford to choose the best alternatives available and not stress about it (as long as it’s not too often!)

Some good places to shop in NZ:

  • Your local supermarket may be better than you expect, depending on where you live. Items that are often available in NZ supermarkets are bolded on this guide.
  • Your local health food or organics store. Remember that health food shops, even the very best ones, still stock foods that are not whole foods, so you still have to check the label.
  • Your local deli is likely to have quality foods, and may even have raw cheese
  • Check out the Where To Shop in NZ page for more details.

Download a copy of the shopping guide here:

This guide is overdue for an update.  Products are constantly changing. If you find anything that can be added (or should be taken off) this list, please email me.