Eating well is key to weight-loss and maintaining a balanced lifestyle, but between misleading labels and tempting treats, healthy buying decisions can be difficult when you visit the grocery store. We put together a few tips to stay on track as you shop.
Peripheral Shop – Think about the layout of a standard grocer; all of the fresh and refrigerated items are around the outside of the store. If they don’t have a long shelf life, they likely don’t have harsh chemicals and preservatives. This is where you want to focus your shop, as you’ll find fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, fish and dairy items, which should make up most of your cart. Think about buying whole foods that wouldn’t last in the center aisles, and don’t have labels with words you can’t pronounce.
Go in With a Plan – Plan your meals and make lists so you don’t get distracted and start filling your basket with items that look good in the moment. Being organized will also help you decrease food waste and overspending, since you’ll buy just what you need. Try to plan meals with items that are in season in your area. This means you’ll be eating fresh and more nutrient-packed foods.
Buy in Bulk – Buy items like quinoa, oats, unsalted/unsweetened nuts and seeds, and natural nut butters in bulk when you can. Nuts and quinoa are great additions to salads, and you can also pick up protein-packed items like beans and lentils.
Use the Smallest Basket or Cart – Having limited space forces you to rethink unnecessary items, and only buy the essentials. Purchasing primarily perishable foods means you’ll be eating more fresh ingredients, and decreases nutrient loss from storing produce for longer.
Choose Wisely in the Freezer Aisle – While the freezer section is packed full of tempting products like ice-cream and “healthy” microwave meals, there are also great items like frozen fruit and vegetables. Adding frozen kale to your smoothie will give you a boost of vitamin C and A, and makes it accessible all year. Frozen fruits are often picked at their ripest, making them full of nutrients.
Skip ‘Healthy’ Branding – Items that claim to be healthy with a check-mark or reference added nutrients are usually not as good for you as marketers would like you to believe. If a package is trying to convince you that you should buy it for the health benefits, it likely isn’t that good for you.
Written by Katie Tatham. Follow Katie at https://medium.com/@katietatham