A Guide to Healthy Grocery Shopping
Grocery shopping can be overwhelming and even intimidating at times. In most stores, there are more options to choose from than necessary, with a range of different sizes, brands, and costs. Below I have shared 5 tips to help make your grocery shopping experience a good one, where you leave feeling accomplished, productive, and moving forward on a healthy note.
- Make a list
Having an idea of what you will eat for the week will not only dramatically help you be more productive in the grocery store, but it will also help you minimize your food waste and make healthy food choices throughout your week. At the beginning of the week, decide what meals you are going to cook, snacks you are going to munch on, and beverages you are going to consume. Then, make an organized grocery shopping list.
2. Make your list diverse
Buying Whole Foods that are nutrient dense is your best option. I understand that buying organic, non-GMO, pasture raised food can be expensive. If you are sticking to a budget, you do not have to buy anything with a fancy label on it to still get adequate nutrition. A diverse grocery list may include:
- Fruits and vegetables that are in season
- Grains such as oatmeal, brown rice, and quinoa
- Proteins that are low in bad cholesterol such as chicken, eggs, and salmon
- Canned food such as beans, vegetables, and tuna
- Frozen food such as frozen fruit or frozen spinach
- Nuts or seeds such as almonds, pumpkin seeds, and almond butter
- Dairy products such as coconut milk, goat cheese, and yogurt
Make sure to also add snacks that you enjoy such as dried fruit, dark chocolate, and hummus. If you are trying to keep your costs down- buy in bulk, stay away from unhealthy beverages, and stick to buying more frozen and canned food items.
3. Avoid buying foods based on marketing
Oftentimes, grocery stores will display and offer sales on highly processed, nutrient omitted foods. Your best bet is to continue walking and sway any urges you may have to buying the cheap, empty calories marketed to you. If you know you struggle with fighting your urges, write reminders on your list to buy only what is good for you or take a friend or family member with you to the store to help hold you accountable.
4. Read the labels
I know this may seem tedious, but it’s a great way to educate yourself and know exactly what you’re putting in your body. If you don’t know a certain ingredient listed on an item, look it up! The golden rule when reading labels on food you’re going to buy is: the less ingredients on the list the better. If there are a number of ingredients listed on an item that you are unsure of, simply don’t buy it. You can always go home, do more research, and buy it next time if your research proves it a nutritious product.
5. Stick to your plan
As I said earlier, the grocery store can be overly stimulating, and it may make you feel impulsive about the foods you decide to buy. Do your best to avoid purchasing unnecessary, unhealthy food. Buy only what is on your list. This will be easier once you get more familiar with your grocery store, and again, bring a buddy shopping with you and write friendly reminders on your grocery list to stick to your plan.
The bottom line is shop for whole, nutrient-dense foods that will help you build a healthy, well-rounded diet. Grocery shopping does not have to be difficult. Try these 5 useful tips to start practicing easier, healthier, and cheaper ways to shop and eat.
-Danielle Lasky CPT Zero Doubt Club