Healthy eating starts at the grocery store. Planning meals ahead of time isn’t always easy. Sometimes sacrificing nutrition for convenience is the more tempting option. If you develop a strategy before you shop, making those healthy decisions will become much easier. Here are some easy tips to help you shop healthier!
1. Don’t forget about frozen and canned foods!
Typically you hear the recommendation to shop the outside or perimeter of the store. The idea is that then you will maximize the fresh foods – and that’s not wrong! Typically the perimeter of the store has the fresh produce, meats (including fish and poultry), cheeses, dairy, and other fresh foods. But don’t forget that frozen vegetables and fruits are harvested at the peak of ripeness and flash frozen, so they contain a good amount of nutrition and can be a good value, as well.
Canned items like legumes can also be a good way to get year-round produce, especially if it’s out of season. Be mindful, however, of the added sugar and salt some canned items contain, and opt for those that are free of those additives. Rinse legumes well, as doing so can rinse away up to 30% of the added sodium. Enjoy!
2. Look down low
Food manufacturers pay a premium to have their items displayed at eye level. Often, less expensive items are shelved lower, with similar quality, but a cheaper price. Use the extra savings to treat yourself with a few extra high quality fruits or veggies!
3. Check out seasonal produce
We’re lucky to live in a land of plenty where most foods are available to us whenever we want. There is, however, something to be said about purchasing peak-season produce. When you buy fruits and vegetables that are in season, you not only save money (because produce is more affordable when it’s in abundance), but those foods will taste better and are actually better for the environment.
To learn what foods are in season now so you can shop seasonally, visit www.seasonalfoodguide.org.
4. Shop the ads
You probably get your local grocery store’s advertisements in the mail, and if you’re like most people, you immediately throw it in the trash. Stop and take a look! Using the ad or circular is a great way to help plan your meals. You can take a glance at what’s on sale and available in your store before you even get there. Many larger stores also have their ads online or offer online coupons, so you can cross-reference with recipes for the week and streamline your meal planning by using the circular as your grocery store guide.
5. Don’t shop hungry!
It’s a good idea to fuel up before you head out to the grocery store. Shopping on an empty stomach can lead to impulse buys and less healthful store selections. I know when I go to the store feeling that empty belly, I want to add more into my cart. I also want to try all of the little samples they have out, and that can spell trouble if you are trying to manage your weight.
6. Use a list
Shopping with a list can help you stay on task. You are more likely to buy the wholesome foods you know you really need. Pick out recipes you want to make for the upcoming week before you hit the store, and use their ingredient lists to help shape your grocery list. Alexa is a new way we are organizing our shopping. We add items as we see that we are out, to the Alexa shopping list, and by the end of the week, we are ready to head out and maximize our time and minimize forgotten but needed items.
7. Use the internet
Building on the Alexa shopping list, the advent of all sorts of online shopping tools makes it easy to stay home and shop if you really hate grocery shopping. Online apps, services, and personal shoppers can help save you some serious time if you just can’t get yourself to the store. Shopping from the comfort of your own home means you can quickly survey what foods you have on hand, select the ingredients you absolutely need and, with a click of the mouse, let someone else do the shopping for you. Local stores are getting on board too: our local Metro Market has an online option, and they will deliver, or collect the items for you and load up your car. It can’t get much easier than that!
Shopping healthy isn’t so difficult with a little advanced planning.
If you need more fitness or nutrition advice, schedule a FREE consultation with me! We’ll discuss your goals and develop a training plan to get you there.Set up a Free Fitness Consultation
Written by Melissa Abramovich, ACE CPT, NASM CGT, AAHFRP Medical Exercise Specialist at Elite Sports Club-River Glen
Melissa Abramovich went into Personal Training and Group Exercise instruction after successfully losing 140 pounds through healthy diet and exercise. Her desire to help others drove her forward into a career helping others to make healthier choices. She is an ACE certified personal trainer and now also a Medical Exercise Specialist (AAHFRP), helping clients with a myriad of health issues at Elite Sports Clubs. She holds a Bachelor’s degree, and many group exercise related certifications as well.