The grocery store is your gateway to health. What you choose to put in your cart and take home will either set you up for success or frustration. Navigate the store wisely and you will have a much easier time making smart choices once that food is at home in your pantry.
Grocery Store Know How
- Plan ahead. Plan your meals for the week, make a list of needed ingredients and stick to the list. 2/3 of what we buy we had no intention buying (eating).
- Don’t shop hungry. An empty stomach results in impulse purchases that may not be the healthiest.
- Always choose real food that can go bad over foods that have a shelf life of a few years. You definitely don’t need all those preservatives and chemicals in your body.
- Don’t buy food you will have to avoid once you bring it home, even if it’s for the kids, not you. If it isn’t something you want to eat, why would you want your child to eat it.
- Avoid foods that have lists of preservatives, artificial ingredients and chemicals.
- Usually avoid foods that have labels that try to convince you that they are healthy. It should be evident when things are healthy and you shouldn’t have to be convinced.
The Grocery Store By Department
Aim for variety. Although we are often creatures of habit and eat the same things over and over, this may not be a good thing if those choices aren’t good ones. Consult the food pyramid for healthier versions of old stand by’s, such as sweet potatoes for white potatoes, baby spinach instead of iceberg lettuce. Be adventurous and try a new fruit, vegetable or whole grain each trip to the store.
Spend most of your time in the produce section and plan your meals around seasonal produce.
Choose whole grains that are the least processed, such as regular oatmeal over instant. Aim for at least 4 grams of fiber per serving of breads and cereals. For cereal reach for brands with fewer than 150 calories per cup, at least 3 grams of fiber and no more than 10 grams of sugar per serving.
Opt for the leanest cuts of meat, skinless poultry and watch the portion sizes.
Choose low fat or nonfat dairy. This is an easy one since there is little difference in taste in higher fat options.
A good alternative for vegetables that are not in season.
Canned and Dried Foods:
Canned and dried vegetables and fruits are a good thing to keep on hand for recipes and snacks. Include beans in recipes when you can for added protein and fiber.
Other great options for snacks are popcorn, a whole grain, and nuts and raisins.
Avoid the aisles of packaged, processed nutrient void food.
- Navigate the grocery store wisely. Avoid isles that tempt you into purchasing foods that sabotage your efforts.