Ten Tips for Healthy Grocery Shopping
If you’re anything like us, the first emotion you feel when you hear the words “grocery shopping” is stress. “What am I going to buy?” “How much money should I spend?” “How do I know I’m making healthy purchases?” are all questions that run through our heads when heading to the store. However, food shopping doesn’t have to be all that difficult. Here are ten easy tips to ensure that the contents of your grocery basket will keep you (and your wallet) light.
Shop around the perimeter of the supermarket.
The middle aisles of many grocery stores are typically stocked with rows and rows of synthetic processed foods, which can be incredibly harmful for the body. These aisles are tempting because they are often where the convenient, “quick-fix” meal options are located. In order to avoid these unhealthy products, stick to shopping around the outskirts of the grocery store where fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood and dairy products are stored.
Eat before you go shopping.
Shopping on an empty stomach often leads shoppers to buy fattening, unhealthy foods in hopes of satiating their hunger. Make sure your stomach is satisfied before you set out so you can make conscious, healthy purchases.
Pay a visit to the health food section.
Almost every supermarket has a natural food section. Here, you can (and should) be able to find natural and organic foods. People tend to stay away from organic food because it can be more expensive than regularly processed groceries. However, very few people realize that they can actually end up saving money in the long run by buying organic. Natural foods rarely come in bulk, so you end up buying — and consuming — less than you would if you were to purchase the product’s processed counterpart. Organic foods are clearly healthier as well, so you don’t have to worry about getting sick and incurring medical bills.
Add more green to your basket.
Green vegetables are loaded with essential phytonutrients and vitamins and minerals, and are often very inexpensive. Lettuce, broccoli, spinach, bok choy, kale and collard greens are all delicious, nutritious veggies that make wonderful additions to thousands of different dishes. And if you’re feeling really adventurous, pick up some dandelion greens as well! (Try sautéing them and throwing them over a plate of whole wheat pasta and roasted tomatoes.)
Look for whole grains.
Make sure the bread products you purchase say either “whole wheat” or “whole grain” to insure you are not ingesting harmful refined flour.
Check your labels.
Three ingredients to absolutely avoid if you must purchase packaged food are “trans fat” “hydrogenated oils” “high fructose corn syrup.” These are all harmful chemicals that have been proven to contribute to a number of health-related issues.
Pick up some berry good fruits.
When purchasing fruit (in season, of course) make sure to purchase different types of berries. Blueberries, strawberries, boysenberries, blackberries and raspberries are all delicious options and have incredibly high nutrient values. They also make for a great summer fruit salad!
Don’t give the frozen section the cold shoulder.
Many times, buying fresh veggies and fruits everyday just isn’t an option, so visit the frozen section to pick up a couple of bags of (organic!) frozen produce. They have practically the same nutritional value as fresh greens, and last a lot longer!
Keep your beverages simple.
Water, 100% fruit juices, low-fat milk and herbal teas (green tea is great too!) are all healthy, cheap drink options. Though tempting, try to steer clear of sugary sodas, alcohol, and artificial juice “drinks” that can lead to weight gain, lethargy and even diabetes.
Make a shopping list.
This is probably one of the most obvious tips, but arguably one of the most important. By having a list, you leave yourself little room for deviating from the foods written down, and therefore can make much more intelligent food choices!