Favourite things: cross-border food finds

21 Mar

I love shopping in the United States. Even though I only live a couple of hours from the border, the different stores always seem new and exciting (any Americans reading this post may have a good laugh :)). When I go shopping in the States (typically in Buffalo), I not only shop for clothes and stuff at the mall, I also go grocery shopping. Now, I love Canada and being Canadian. There are so many great things about our country. However, there is WAY more variety in the low fat/low calorie options available in the US. It has gotten a lot better here. Since it’s been a couple of years since I started my American grocery trips, I’ve noticed that often Canada will get the same or similar products, but it always takes longer! 😦 I’ve also streamlined my purchases. When I first started cross-border grocery shopping, I would bring home HUGE hauls! There would always be so much stuff I wanted to try. Now that I’ve been doing it longer, I know what my favourites are, what things are worth, what things are not, and what things end up going to waste/just sitting on the shelf. Also, happily, since I’ve started cross-border shopping, several of the items I used to drive to Buffalo for are now available here in Canada (or at least versions similar enough that I don’t feel the need to drive south for them). Nevertheless, there are still some things I just can’t get here. So take a look at my photos and I’ll run down the highlights of what I bought on last week’s trip.

1. Low Calorie Breads – These are always one of my biggest purchases. I figure, if you can have the same taste for less calories, why wouldn’t you? It’s a really easy way to cut calories on the things I eat on a day-to-day basis. There are my favourite, flat-out wraps, which I use for pizza crusts, quesadillas and wraps (yes, you can order them online in Canada now 😀 :D, but since I was there, I thought I’d pick them up and skip the shipping charges). I also get thin buns…again, Weight Watchers now has thin buns in Canada, but there are way more varieties in the US….plus they have hot dog thins, not available here. I also buy light English muffins, since the American ones are lower in calories than any sold here (not quite sure why….maybe different recipes for different regulations?). And this time I grabbed a bag of 110 calorie everything bagel thins which I haven’t tried before.

2. Chips – No, I am not driving 2 hours just to buy the same chips you can buy here. I’m talking about fat-free Lays/Ruffles (you can’t buy chips like that in Canada, because Olestra, the oil used to fry them, is not approved in Canada…article about it here), fat-free Pringles (also use Olestra) and the new cracker chips by Special K and Pepperidge Farm I’ve heard so much about (these last 2 are brand-new for me, so I’m super-excited to try them :)).

3. Fat Free Caramel Dip. Yes, you can buy caramel dip in Canada. No, it’s not fat-free. Marzetti caramel apple dip is delicious…and is also an ingredient in many Hungry Girl recipes…like my personal fav…Sweet ‘n Salty Caramel Cocoa.

4. Fat Free Reddi-Whip This stuff is another HG staple…when it comes to topping drinks (hot or cold), it can’t be beat. Fat-free Cool Whip (available in Canada) is an acceptable substitution, but it just doesn’t taste the same…it’s not aerosol, and the flavour of Reddi-Whip really does taste like whipped cream (I’m not sure how they do it in the fat-free version, and I’m not sure I want to know ;)).

5. Diet Hot Cocoa Wow…the more I type my list, the more I see how Hungry Girl-influenced it is. Swiss Miss “Sensible Sweets” 25 calorie cocoa can be used in all kinds of HG recipes, from the hot chocolate one above, to baked goods, to cold drinks….you name it, Swiss Miss can do it…and for only 25 calories! I also love to make a cup of the stuff using half water, half almond milk for a yummy chocolate pick-me-up.

Now onto the freezer section….

6. Weight Watchers Smart Ones Sundaes Ok…these things are GOOD! They come in varieties like cookie dough, peanut butter cup, fudge brownie and turtle…YUM! If you’ve read my About Me page, you know that WW helped me lose weight. I still roughly follow the “old” points system as a guide to help me in maintenance…so pre-portioned, delicious desserts like these are a HUGE help. They truly don’t taste diet-y at all.

7. Light Ice Cream Variety in this area has gotten a lot better in recent years in Canada. However, there’s still better selection south of the border….umm, hello Girl Scout Thin Mint light ice cream? Yes please! I also buy this kind of Breyers fat free vanilla ice cream with super-low stats and even fiber (nothing in Canada compares). Finally, I buy chocolate mint Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches (only vanilla ones here).

8. My beloved Boca Burgers There are lots of great frozen veggie burgers in Canada, but none have the same great flavour as Bocas (they were once available in Canada…come back please Boca…do you hear me?). I love the original (again…a HG favourite in many recipes) and the bruschetta flavour.

This post doesn’t cover absolutely everything I bought, as I said, it’s just the highlights. If you see something in either of the pictures of my “stash,” feel free to ask me. I love to share my fabulous food finds with the blog-world. Do you have any favourite foods you drive across the border (or order online) to get? What are they and why are they worth it?

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20 Responses to “Favourite things: cross-border food finds”

  1. Kathy March 21, 2011 at 1:27 pm #

    If we’re in the States, we like to get Tillamook Cheese and Yogurt (available in Washington and Oregon) and Healthy Start Morning breakfast cereal.

  2. Sandra :) March 21, 2011 at 3:00 pm #

    We pop down to Buffalo every couple of months so I can get my Joanns (craft/fabric store) fix 🙂 We take a cooler with us and make a point of going to Aldi to pick up groceries, especially butter, cream cheese, shredded cheese, yogurt, and Ghirardelli brownie mixes 😀 Where are you finding all these fun grocery goodies (which store/s)? We also hit the grocery section of Walmart – it’s annoying how many different items they have that we don’t – I’ve just put all of your items #5 through 7 on my next list, LOL!! The fat free chips sound amazing too, although I checked out your link and the possible side effects are a bit worrisome 😀

    • hungryhealthyhilary March 21, 2011 at 5:05 pm #

      I’ve never had any of those side effects. 🙂 And I shop at Wegman’s. I think you can get Ghiradelli mix in Canada at Costco, FYI.

      • Sandra :) March 21, 2011 at 11:16 pm #

        Thanks for the info 🙂 We just got a membership to Costco and I bought my first “Canadian” box of Ghirardelli brownie mix this past weekend – I believe I’ll qualify as the coolest mom ever, but only on brownie baking day for about 17 minutes until the brownies are gone, LOL 🙂

  3. Katie @ Real Food Katie's Way March 21, 2011 at 10:11 pm #

    The last time we went to Bismarck we came back with Kettle Corn SMART POP (so good!), all flavors of Chex Mix, nut butters that I only DREAM of getting in canada, we also brought back fat free pringles…Heart healthy pancake mix….that’s all I can think of right now…

  4. Lettuce Choose Healthy March 21, 2011 at 10:34 pm #

    I totally go grocery shopping where ever I travel!

  5. Katie @ Real Food Katie's Way March 22, 2011 at 8:12 am #

    OH ALSO! I remember stocking up on the sugar free fat free flavors of pudding that we didn’t get…Mainly CHEESECAKE because there is just so much you can do with it…

    Now I try to make somewhat of an effort not to consume a lot of the artificially sweetened stuff…But my hubby loves the stuff!

    • hungryhealthyhilary March 22, 2011 at 9:59 am #

      Yeah…I eat a lot of artificially sweetened stuff :(….I just have such a sweet tooth! And I forgot to mention the Smart Pop Kettle Corn in my post…LOVE that stuff….mmmm…sweet and salty!

  6. Heather March 25, 2011 at 12:31 pm #

    You can get thin hamburger and hot dog buns at PC here!!!

    • hungryhealthyhilary March 25, 2011 at 4:54 pm #

      Yes but I’m sorry to say they are much higher in calories than the American ones!

  7. Donna March 29, 2011 at 4:49 pm #

    Lol, i thought i was the only one crazy enough to drive to Buffalo just to get groceries, i actually got searched once because they didn’t believe i drove 1.5 hours just to buy food!
    Lovely blog 🙂

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