Posted in Healthy, Home Economics, Kid Friendly, Opinions & Commentaries

Cookbook Review: It all beings with food.

It all begins with food – Cookbook review

Just a little over a month ago, the nutrifoodie in me was surprised when I peeked into my mailbox:  Food Bloggers of Canada had selected me to receive a copy of “It All Begins with Food” to review it.  I’m assuming they picked me, as my niche seems to constantly revolve around children and the parents who love them dearly (is that you?).

“It all begins with food” is one of the best introductions to this cookbook.  It really shares the viewpoint behind the vision of Leah Garrad-Cole’s mantra of healthy living and her company Love Child Organics.  Teaching them through my Nutrition Bites business services, this book has given me hope that there are cookbooks out there for the kitchen and not just the coffee table or pristine cabinet.  This is a cookbook that will get messy pages fast because you will probably want to use almost every recipe.

Being a nutrition expert myself, I am so happy that the author explains that this is from a mom to a mom.  Her expertise is in experience and she has certain views that might not be completely supported by professionals in my field.  Leah’s views on GMO and understanding of pesticides are one sided yet has made her baby food company known and very successful, as that is what Canadians are asking for.  She does a good job of explaining the organic movement but there are points missing that could only come from an education of sciences (nutrition, agriculture, etc.).  The repetitive “from a BPA-free can” in the ingredient lists should have been in the introduction in my opinion as more of an education rather than a constant stressor for parents that might not have that option.  I realize the health risks involved, so don’t misunderstand me.  I just think that it is very hard to tell when shopping since those aren’t labelled on most products, and could cause a reader to not make the recipe.  Being a Professional Home Economist, I am truly aware of what stops the average consumer from cooking at home. Ok, I’m done with the few warnings because the nutrition science nerd wouldn’t feel comfortable not ethically pointing these out to the average consumer.  It’s one thing to take with a grain of salt, and with this cookbook, you might really be looking hard to find another grain of it – because it’s that healthy!

Let’s start from the beginning.  The cover looks like natural and “normal” foods including burgers and pizza buns that kids would recognize – bonus!  Event the picky eaters will not have many complaints if you cook recipes from this book.

The first 81 pages consist of a guide interlaced with coloured charts, but not the obviously childish bright and primary colours, perfectly styled for the mom in mind (who needs Crayola colours – we are a bit more grown up than that!).  The ingredients are well explained but not always available.  It does offer a few substitution suggestions in one of the pages of the beginning guide, so be sure to look if you get stuck at home.  The chapter titles are simple and colour coded to allow any reader to quickly find what they are looking for.  On almost every page are tips and tricks to help too – it’s reminds me of Looneyspoons & Homegrown the Cookbook.  One example is providing complimenting foods that might pair well with certain recipes.


From a health perspective, I truly think the modern mom will appreciate the identifying icons with each title make it easier to identify which are free of wheat, dairy, eggs, etc.  I love that she lists key nutrients (but I did not verify them) and she also helps.  I highly recommend page 126: The Smooth O Matic graphics spread over two pages is perfect for busy mornings or trying to use up ingredients you already have on hand.


Her values of NOT hiding vegetables in kid foods is something that I would totally support.  I suggest parents to try many things before resorting to this tactic.  As a recipe developer, myself (I rarely have time in between teaching kids to cook with Nutrition Bites, raising my own growing daughters, and running my new Growing Up Healthy company), I absolutely am in love with her placing a space of every recipe for “Date Tried”.  Yet, this cookbook is so pretty I wonder if anyone would write in this gorgeous book – please do and just get a second copy when it becomes illegible or falling apart.  I guess based on the quality of cover and pages you will probably get 5-10 years depending on how much you make time for cooking (you should plan it into your schedule at least one day more than you are doing right now!).


The beauty of all the recipes is the simplicity of them that rely on the flavours and colours of food to make them irresistible to try. They are so gorgeous, you start eating you’re your eyes and any adult would be tempted to make most of these recipes for themselves.


The recipes are so kid and family friendly using whole food ingredients that I completely support this cookbook.  I encourage many of these simple but flavourful dishes. Working with kids in my business this is definitely a cookbook I will be using and recommending to parents.  It could have been a two volume book – one as a guide – one as a cookbook. Her passion for the healthiest options shines through.  Her use of nutrient-dense foods is obvious for us in nutrition and she is truly a visionary I can completely identify with.  We care about our children, your children and everyone’s daily health through delicious food that is easy to cook at home.

 

Posted in Healthy, Home Economics, Opinions & Commentaries, Product Testing

Food Magazine Review: Milk Street

I have to confess that as much as I am tech savvy, I’m still in love with traditional print. The ability to bring things to read without requiring a cord or battery is still brilliant in my mind.  I also love turning the pages and the whole experience of knowing that it will never require downloading and can be recycled in some way or kept as a reference for later and possibly repeated use.


Meet what I consider the Foodie version of Nutrition Action Newsletter: Milk Street.  (As a backstory, the Nutrition Action Newsletter was my favourite until they stopped producing a print version early last year to many nutrition experts’, including myself, discontent.)

What Milk Street does is take the approach to be ad-less.  That’s right – it is all CONTENT and absolutely NO advertisements.  The editor retains complete control of content and doesn’t have to play nice with the big box businesses of food.  Consider it the high-end, grassroots magazine that allows the best recipes and so much knowledge of how to cook well at home (and yes, at times, gourmet).



I stumbled upon the “Charter Edition” (read: FIRST EVER ISSUE published!) in Chapters when I wanted to find some cottage magazines to inspire my best friend while taking a much needed vacation.

My May-June 2017 Issue set my opinion in stone for future editions and so I thought to share this with others who might appreciate the fun & experience of cooking at home.

Christopher Kimball’s obvious experience and depth of knowledge plus passion is displayed in every page and picture.  The once in a while caricatures bring a New Yorker edge to the magazine, the quality of paper makes you feel like you stepped into a stationary heaven and the content…. well have a look at the table of contents that really is a Recipe Index AND my favourite parts: Every Issue “staples”.


The editor founded Cook’s Magazine in 1980 but is back to the new approach of The New Home Cooking – It’s a Professional Home Economist’s dream!  It not only inspires you with recipes that range from beginner/easy to more advanced, but as well explanations of the basic WHYs of food science along the way.


There are even step-by-step PHOTOS that teach you how to make the recipe, showing exactly how whipped egg whites should look with “gentle peaks” and WHY this consistency is important!


The Book Reviews are more about history, memoirs and stories behind food rather than cookbooks galore.  There are tidbits of mini stories, creative ingredient ideas and frugal tips along the way.  Plus reviews and explanation of equipment to consider in your kitchen.  A great balance to all the recipes, all issues also include Cocktails & Wine sections.  Because a great cook always knows that food needs a drink to compliment it.

This is a well-thought out master plan “that’s both simpler and smarter”, even touts the editor.


This is a magazine you should try out.

Pros

  • Easy for the average cook to follow
  • Great recipe ideas
  • Digital option included with subscription
  • Background Stories included with a recipe
  • Global flavours represented often
  • Explanation of ingredients – completely assuming they are teaching you
  • Paired with a public television show and public radio show
  • Online video recipe guides

Cons

  • American / Published in USA – Increases cost & content might sometimes (not usually) reflect that (Canadian order site http://www.milkstreetmagcanada.com)
  • Cost without advertisements increases what you pay
  • It is paired with its own private cooking school (so it does have a pseudo & inadvertent advertisement for a company)

Final Verdict – Thumbs Up!  I don’t mind paying a premium at times for amazing content and no fillers!  (Kind of like Epicure spices, 😉 )

Note: These opinions are my own.  I have no way been endorsed or asked to write this review.  I purchased the magazine myself and have no affiliation or kickbacks to suggesting this magazine.

Posted in Home Economics, Ontario, Opinions & Commentaries, Special Events

#PHEcProud Project – Day 1

The #PHEcProud Project

Day 1

Join Sandra Venneri of Nutrition Bites every evening at 9pm for 30 days while she shares with you topics on home economics and being a Professional Home Economist.

Click here to view the #PHEcProud Project – Day 1 video on Nutrition Bites’ YouTube channel.

 

Posted in Gluten Free, Healthy, Home Economics, Kid Friendly, Opinions & Commentaries, Product Testing

I’m officially… a Love Bug. 

Being a mom of two girls has had its challenges. In the beginning, I thought if they could wipe their bum and sleep through the night it would just be smooth sailing from there.

HA HA!

It’s ok. You can laugh at me too. Every stage with child rearing has its benefits & struggles.

Starting daycare or school is thought to be the ultimate in breaks. We get our life back, we get to go back to work, no extra daycare costs …. um, no!

Having another set of hands and feet other than our own is even more complicated when we can’t be with them constantly to take care of them.

That’s when I discovered Lovable Labels. I purchased a set for each of my daughters.

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(And one package has lasted until now!)

It was a Canadian company that made my life easier.  No more worrying about what wouldn’t be making it home that day (1 mitten, new indoor shoes, the expensive lunch thermos, etc.).  With Costco dressing many kids in durable snowsuits and backpacks, there’s bound to be a mix up of who’s is who’s.

Lovable Labels are made for a lifetime of use and stand up against the toughest kids.  They are:

  • Waterproof
  • Dishwasher Safe (Tested and true by this Professional Home Economist!)
  • Microwave Safe
  • UV Resistant
  • Peel & Stick (Except for the Iron-ons & non-label products)
  • Laundry Safe (Clothing labels only)
  • Bleach Safe

So I’ve been using these labels ever since. Well, mostly my kids’ stuff but there are tons of uses for adults too including work lunch containers (no missing leftovers from the lunch room fridge!), seniors in long-term care/nursing homes, sports (hockey, soccer, basketball, etc) equipment, students sharing dorm rooms/bathrooms etc.  Plus there are household labels (see my Top 5 list below!) that help homes stay organized inside (kitchen, office, crafts) and outside (recycling, compost & garbage bins!).

I even used them to do a fundraiser for the charity I work with, NSTEP, a few years back.

Recently I wanted to run a free promotion for my business, Nutrition Bites. As a Mompreneur, I have a home-based business but use expos to showcase as my temporary storefront. This season I was booked back to back at VegFest London and Whoa Mama! Marketplace. Many of my clients are parents & children. So what better way to advertise & market healthy eating to kids AND help out parents than to offer customized Lovable Labels to them as they walked by!!!?  I thought it was a very useful idea!

Here’s what my custom Nutrition Bites Lovable Labels looked like:


I attached them to a sheet explaining what they were & how to use them. You should have seen the kids light up! FREE stickers for their lunches? One girl took a few extras to share with her friends.

It was my little part to be marketing HEALTHY messages to kids and go up against the giants that unethically use millions of dollars trying to get low-density nutrition/foods into your kids all day long! (Can you tell I’m a bit passionate about health for kids & communities?!)

One of the best parts of ordering from Lovable Labels was their personalized touches:

A handwritten note to me!


After that I couldn’t help but be even more of a “Love Bug” unofficially of Lovable Labels.  Who takes the time to appreciate a customer’s orders?  This small, Canadian company sure does!

So I decided to support their company by registering to be an official Lovable Label Love Bug.  It was pretty easy, and within a few weeks my  Welcome Package arrived so I could share my love. All I do is be me: share my love of Lovable Labels with others.

What do you get?

  • Giveaways (FREE stuff for you!) – Seasons, themes, etc.
  • Cool ideas on how to use Lovable Labels from me, Sandra, aka Nutrition Bites

What I get?

  • Monthly Incentives & Free Products to review – No clue what these are yet but I plan on sharing them with my followers & Nutrition Bites customers somehow!  (Check out #1 on my Top 5 list below!)
  • Welcome Package to launch my love to you and the rest of the world – GIVEAWAY from me!
  • Content ideas for my blog, social media and home to get creative with Lovable Labels

So with all of the uses for Lovable Labels, I’m going to share with you MY list of the top 5 products I love.

Top 5 List of Lovable Label Products

From a Nutrition Consultant & Professional Home Economist

1. Lil’ Dose of Love Labels: Tutti Frutti

An extra little gift for being Customer of the Day (another sweet thing Lovable Labels does that I had no clue about – who doesn’t love FREE stuff and surprises!?) were these amazing labels.  Their website talks about giving kids positive messages in their lunches & backpacks but I thought – wow – exactly what I believe in – using FRUIT, not candy, to market to kids.  Plus the punny food humour is sure to make any kid-at-heart smile!


2. Allergy Alert Labels

Food allergies can be deadly for some.  Most are aware of this fact as schools, daycares and camps are trying to protect those that have severe allergies.  These labels help to remind others when you can’t be there, to not give your child certain allergens.  Allergy Alert Labels can also just be used for those wanting to have a certain lifestyle – like vegetarianism, veganism, gluten-free, etc.  And if your child has diabetes or other conditions that require a modified diet or lifestyle, the medical alert label will help you define that for others simple with a “peel & stick”.

3.  Canning LabelsPantry Labels 

Keeping healthy can start by being organized in your kitchen.  With personalized Canning Labels (which also help to make great gifts or for small farmers’ markets!) and an extensive pack of 88 Pantry Labels (almost ALL are very healthy staples to have in your home!), you’ll be sure to stock your home and others’ with healthy foods to nourish your bodies and busy lifestyle.

 

4.  Date It! Labels  & Write-On Labels  

These labels allow you to write & personalize AFTER you receive them in the mail.  Date It! Labels are perfect for food safety at home. Ever ask yourself (or someone else asks you), “When were those leftovers made?  Are they still good?”.  Well less work for you and this way you can customize with some Retro, Mayan, or Country styles without having to personalize before you actually make those pickles, roast or banana muffins.

5.  Outdoor Bin Labels 

As a person that has moved a lot in my life, these stickers were my gift to me (along with a local newspaper subscription) when I began my new life as a single mom.  No more chasing a black garbage can down the street to wonder if it was actually mine (Notice how almost everyone has the same one these days!).  No family name needed, just the address to keep your identity private but your bins easy to identify. It’s kind of like a “Return To” if found, during windy days.  And it looks way better than the spray-paint or sharpie method that’s bound to wear off during our harsh, Canadian winters!

 

fruit-starter

BONUS #6 – Don’t forget where Lovable Labels started – their personalized labels great for lunch & drink containers as well as clothes, shoes and bags.  I suggest their healthiest theme, Fruition, to (subconsciously) market fruits & veggies to your kids (and maybe you or your spouse!)

 

A LOVABLE GIVEAWAY FOR YOU!!!

I thought I’d start it of right by sharing the love right away with fellow bloggers & Nutrition Bites followers.


I’m giving away THREE different items from my Love Bug Welcome Package & my Nutrition Bites Promotion:

  • “Blogging is Bliss” & “I love Blogging” Labels/stickers
  • Lil’ Dose of Love Labels: Tutti Frutti (A sampler!)
  • My “personal”-ized favourites #NutritionBites Lovable Labels

Visit my Nutrition Bites Facebook Page to comment to win!

Find the blog post and follow the easy instructions! (Contest not in affiliation with Facebook in any way.  Open to age of majority in Canada. Contest deadline: December 18th, 2016 at 11:59pm.)

Stay tuned for more creative ways to use Lovable Labels and giveaways for my followers – YOU!

Follow me on Social Media:

Facebook:   NutritionBitesCanada

Instagram & Pinterest: @NutritionBites

Twitter:  @NutritionBites8

Blog (this is it!):   nutritionbites88.wordpress.com

Website:   www.nutritionbites.ca

Posted in Farm, Healthy, Home Economics, On Location, Opinions & Commentaries

Harvest Moon Reflection

Tonight in Ontario is the Harvest Moon – a signal to past generations that the crop was ready.  I thought it was fitting to reflect (pardon the pun) on my recent trip to Manitoba.

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Months ago, I was lucky enough to be invited to a Food & Farm trip during harvest time in the prairies.  All expenses paid, yes.  What did they ask of us all participants?  NOTHING.  Yes, I truly mean that.  How they picked us all, I don’t know – the only connection I can figure out was our love of good food!

After settling in to my regular life, I have had a few days to gather my thoughts (and my sleep). I am sure to blog about my specific experiences of a whirlwind 3 days but this summary at least represents the table of contents.

  • I had a quick walk (twice) to The Forks for a few hours in Winnipeg, MB.
  • I met 9 other amazing “foodies” who ranged from Registered Dietitians, chefs, restaurateurs, a food photographer, a news anchor and a travel & food blogger.
  • After a weekend, the titles of these strangers faded away.  The names turned into personalities and the glimpse of everyone’s passion started to come through.
  • Visits to vegetable, bison, honey, beef, grain, bean & canola farms were the main staple of our tour.  It definitely kept us busy & active with the full itinerary.
  • Throughout the tours and conversations with farmers, it became apparent that everyone had their own interest and investment into food.  The questions and comments helped to clear up misunderstandings as well as provide us with many facts and figures we didn’t know.
  • On top of the educational pieces about the agricultural processes and business side of farming, some history was retold.
  • The families and farming community were like Pleasantville.  Yes, I was told that they are regular folk too but, coming from a metropolitan city of London, Ontario – it was like walking INTO history and old fashioned values – everyone was so sweet & nice in EVERY conversation plus hospitable, opening their homes to us (literally)!
  • Farmers really care about sustainability and being stewards of the earth.
  • The food served was out of this world and amazing – ranging from a Pinterest-like party setting in a barn catered by several amazing chefs to my roomie cooking me breakfast (who is an award winning executive chef) and having it ready after my shower (so sweet).
  • The farms were stunning pictures that really captured the essence of how much space Canada has and how beautiful every turn, hill top and valley is.
  • Everyone has a story to tell – Using media (videographers followed us, social media used by guests & farmers ) with so many Canadian farms out there, can help continue the conversation about our food.

My takeaway from a 3 day weekend is that I feel even more passionate for food.  It has sparked new interests, questions and ideas that will last me for years to come.  What I love most is that this experience has now become part of my story and memories.  It will shape my future of food, not just in my career, but personally.  I will share what I’ve learned on my path, because connecting more with our food and health can help us all live a great life. This trip definitely fed my body, but more importantly, my mind and spirit.

 

The most sincerest Thank You goes out to:

  • the Canola Connect team who invited & hosted us,
  • the farmers who were welcoming and asked ANY question we had,
  • the families that showed up to help to host us at their farms (children & adults alike),
  • the other people who toured with me.

 

Posted in Farm, Fruits, Healthy, Home Economics, Local, Opinions & Commentaries, Product Testing

Product Review: Starfrit Cherry Pitter

Cherries are in full season, but my “season” started months ago.  I undertook a project  with 20 Valley Harvest Farms.  I have been responsible for many things including designing unique recipes that highlight not only cherries, but whole food, local and Canadian ingredients (Professional Home Economists can be a great source for recipe writing!).

So with so many recipes to design, test and re-test I also indirectly tested out several ways to pit cherries for the average consumer.

I first tried home hacks and methods that required only household items.  You can read that post here: Cherry Pitting: Home Hacks on Trial. Even though I am against having too many appliances and gadgets in the kitchen, I went looking for a possible way to get through pitting tons of cherries so I could focus on the recipes (especially when a test completely fails and I need to re-do it fast!).

So I research and find the single, stainless steel cherry pitter.  One was at Bed, Bath & Beyond for $18.99.  I also found the Starfrit Cherry Pitter.  With the option of “6 cherries at once”, I was very interested.  It was plastic so I was a bit hesitant, but with the price tag of $14.99 at my local Canadian Tire, I considered it for 3 weeks.  (Now when you search during the season, a ton more pop up when searching online.)

After buying out of season cherries from Washington (USA), spending tons of money and losing lots of time for the other tasks I needed to complete for 20 Valley Harvest farm promotions, I bit the bullet and pulled out my wallet.

Did you know that the average recipe development cost charged to companies is about $350 PER RECIPE?! It’s not just the time, but the cost of ingredients, appliances and even energy – electricity for stoves, appliances – add to the cost of a recipe to be developed and tested.

Being frugal, I thought I’d attempt the Starfrit one since it was cheaper and the idea of doing 6 cherries at once compared to the traditional, one at a time, made me travel to Canadian Tire.  When I asked, the employee didn’t even know where to find it and she said they must not carry it.  I thanked her and noted her lack of confidence of an obviously, not well requested item.  So I kept searching the aisle for my solution to my “bloody” cherry hell (I mean problem….).  Well, low and behold, after searching inch by inch, there it was… quietly sitting there with no indication of how purposeful it really was.

So home I went, with a lighter wallet and a hope that this weird contraption was going to make my life easier.

So instead of just showing you photos of how it went, I thought I’d use my daughter to film a quick impromptu video of how the Starfrit Cherry Pitter works from beginning to end. ​

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​PHEc Tips to get the most out of this gadget:

  • The fresher the cherries, the more likely the pit will not stay attached to the tiny flap of skin.
  • Not just for pies, it’s a great way to make maraschino cherries for cocktails, garnishes and additions to salads.
  • A great tool if you are also going to dehydrate/dry these into cherraisins (I made up the word and pronounce it “sher-raisins” or “chair-raisins” – which do you prefer?).
  • Store with your canning gear and put away for the season, or with your colander for reminders when washing other fruits, berries and veggies.

Here’s what I think after testing out the Starfrit Cherry Pitter:

Pros

  • Easy to use – It has the same action as a stapler and a child can do it without help.
  • Dishwasher safe – It comes apart to clean all three parts and no handwashing required.
  • Quick – Less work and mess than home hacks, plus this type does 6 cherries at a time!
  • Easier than other pitters – For people that don’t have good hand and finger coordination (Ex: Persons with MS, arthritis, fibromyalgia, advanced or very young ages) – no balancing or strong grip required.
  • Compact – It stores flat with a small locking tab that keeps it flat for storage.
  • Encourages healthy eating – Mr R Ginger ate an entire bowl in 5 minutes when I offered him “some” since they were already pitted.  I’m sure children and everyone in the family will do the same (we never got a chance 😉 ).

Cons

  • Cost is more than home hacks or commercially prepared ones
  • Space – You’ll need to store it somewhere when not in use.

Final Thought:  Yes, I do recommend this item.

IMG_6374If you are picking cherries or making jam or pies, this is a great and healthy alternative to home hacks or commercially prepared with added sugar (10% for those buckets of pitted cherries seasonally available usually).  This became my go to for my recipe testing.  It has held up great under many dishwasher runs, two kids using it and the countless cherries sacrificed for 3 unique recipes designed by Nutrition Bites for 20 Valley Harvest Farms.

I’m not all for new gadgets, or spending money (frugal PHEc here!), but this saved me time and made it easier to enjoy cherries more this season.  I’m happy to have it in my home, and I know next year I will be ready to pull it out.  This cherry pitter is totally worth not looking like a red-handed, mass-murderer during cherry season when you are up for serving delicious pies, tarts, jams, salads and cakes quickly!

 

Note: All opinions are my own.  This was not sponsored by Starfrit and I have not received any compensation or free items to recommend this product.

Posted in Couponing, Healthy, Home Economics, Opinions & Commentaries, Product Testing

Service Review: Loblaws Click & Collect Grocery Service

Loblaws’ super idea of Click & Collect might send consumers walking right back to the Superstore.


Having to drive by Loblaws each week, I have noticed that these pick up parking spaces are completely empty.  Being someone who is picky with selecting the perfect peach (PHEc Tip: Smell them, if they don’t smell like a peach, put it back!), I was hesitant.  Cue in a super busy day, some staples that are needed (who can screw up picking out a carton of milk), and I go online before 6am to see if this can help with a stressful life.


It looked so easy: “Shop Online. Pick up in Store.” I set up an account easily, hopefully to add my PC Points/Plus at the end upon checkout.


So “click” I did, and the webstore was beautiful.  It had a billion items (probably) and a tab for Flyers & Deals.  Swoon…. I was in love.  

Then I tried finding my 2% Natrel Lactose-Free milk.  It’s not their best seller so then I had to go into the Milk & Dairy section.  There were still 78 items/options so I discovered “Search” in the top left corner.  That made it way easier.  Next item for me, butter.  (Yes, I know you are going to say something.  Everything in moderation and a good baker knows the value of butter at times.)  That’s when things really started to make me rethink:  $6.99 for 454g of salted butter. I know butter has increased in price over the past 5 years.  But a frugal PHEc wouldn’t pay that unless company was coming and I was in a pinch.

This showed me one complete downfall to this Click & Collect personal shopping service: No price matching!  Then I wondered….. I bet there is no couponing too!  Gasp!


For the average consumer in London, Ontario (one of the wealthiest cities in Canada, I think), this is definitely a “First Class Digital Experience” (seen on the back of the paper flyer I picked up in-store). Add the unadvertised $3-5 fee that the web store requires you to pay for the service to the Loblaws luxury (um, higher) shelf prices with no options for price matching/couponing, and I emptied my virtual cart.  This just wasn’t for me.  It could be for you. Here’s a list to summarize my thoughts so you can decide yourself:

Pros:

Convenience – For busy nights, parents with screaming children, and for rushed lifestyles.

Valet for Groceries – Easy for people with mobility issues but can use a car.

Fun – Yes shopping online seems to be a hobby of some these days.

Cart Starter Options – Have a personalized shopping list ready every time you log on. It makes it easier to search and select the items, so even less time “shopping” for the items you usually buy.

Payments upon Pickup – No payment ahead of time but you do need a credit card to “secure” the order.  You can use debit instead of a credit card since you don’t technically pay when ordering.

Sales – Clearly marked and the same prices as the flyers.

Prices – Option to view products from Low to High prices to find a cheaper alternative of a similar food.

Personalize Pickings – You can specify if you want ripe fruits, or certain details to make sure it’s just how you’d pick it out.

Social Sanity – For those who hate busy times or crowed places, it can make grocery shopping peaceful.

Substitution Options – Allow substitutions or not.  If you do, you can specify if it has to be from the same brand, or never for a higher price.  You can decide at your car to take the item or not (it says). This personal preference can be saved on your account for each category – Milk vs Fruits & Veggies.

Cons:

Cost – Higher prices are usually at Loblaws compared to its sister stores like No Frills & Superstore.

Minimum Purchase Required – You need to spend at least $30 to use the service.

Fee – Additional fee of $3 at less busy times and $5 after 5pm and on weekends.

Price Matching – No option for this, leading to an increased cost for the money savvy shoppers.

Coupons – No option for this.

Bags – It does ask in a type box (not a more visual drop box) if you are using your own bags. Obviously if you do not specify you could be charged the 5 cents per bag.  Another added cost.

Substitution Options – If you gave permission for them to substitute, you wouldn’t find out until you “collected” your order.  Plus if that was a necessary item, it might be not worth the extra costs, when you realize you went home with an unavailable item and the rest of the required $30 minimum of food.

Select Locations – Definitely not available at it sister store, No Frills. I’m not sure if EVERY Loblaws has this option. (Let me know if it’s available at locations near you.). 

Personally, I’ll just keep sticking to the “Go & Grab” method of grocery shopping instead of “Click & Collect”.  It might be a busy day ahead for me, but at least I will get some walking and weight lifting (carrying the bags myself) in for my daily physical activity.  I think I’ll save my family a lot of money, since I’m not choosing the “First Class” experience.

Frugal Tip: Sign up for an account, check your email and you receive $5 off your “next” order. Consider it free valet (the Click & Collect fee for busy times) for one day!

*Please note that I have not used this service, as explained above, to completion.  It is possible that some details might change if I had been able to complete the entire service.