Grocery Shopping 101

When you are trying to eat healthy, you don’t want to go to the grocery store without a list or when you are hungry! Set yourself up for success! Here we will discuss ways to choose healthy items at the grocery store and what healthy items you can find in each aisle.

The first thing to remember is to shop the perimeter and spend most of your time in the produce section! The aisles in the center of the store contain all the snacks & “junk food” that are high in calories and low in nutrients. When you are in the produce section, choose a rainbow of colorful fruits & vegetables. Make a goal to try a few new fruits & veggies each week to get an assortment of antioxidants, vitamins and lots of fiber!

When you get to the meats section, remember to choose the lean cuts of meats (round, top, sirloin, tenderloin) and avoid poultry with skin. Also try to include lots of fish (frozen is just as good as fresh) to get omega-3 fatty acids.

Dairy foods are a great source of calcium and vitamin D and you can avoid lots of fat by choosing the low-fat or non-fat options. Try to get 3 servings of dairy a day and if you’ve never tried Greek yogurt, you’re missing out! Greek yogurt contains twice the amount of protein as regular yogurt and has no artificial sweeteners. It has a thicker consistency and there are tons of fruit varieties.

When you get to the breads, cereals & pasta, you want to focus on the whole grains and avoid the highly processed items. Try oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, barley and whole-wheat breads & pastas. Look for items that have 4 g of fiber per serving.

You can get into trouble in the canned foods aisles if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Canned fruits, veggies and beans are good to have in your pantry to add to salads, soups, pastas or rice dishes. But you want veggies that have no salt added and fruits that are in their own juices (not syrup)! Tuna is another great canned food that is high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids and low in calories.

Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re at the grocery store:
– Convenience is worth the extra cost (i.e. pre-cut fruits and veggies).
– Choose real foods (i.e. 100% whole grain or 100% fruit juice).
– Avoid foods that contain more than 5 ingredients.
– Stay clear of foods with cartoons on them.
– Choose cereal on the top few shelves. They have less sugar and are higher in fiber and protein.

Remember, plan ahead and take a few hours on the weekend to cook meals for the week. It will help you be successful in eating healthy. Now make a list and get to the store!