Grocery shopping can be complicated when you are trying to make healthier choices or to manage chronic diseases. With the diverse amount of available products on store shelves nowadays, smart, healthy choices seem confusing and burdensome. Here are some easy tips to help you make wise food choices in the grocery store.
Get Ready, Make a Plan
Make a grocery list of what you need and stick to it! This will help keep you from buying things you don’t need or want. Using a list as your guide will help save TIME and MONEY.
Get Set, Eat First
Shop on a “full stomach”; if you shop when you’re hungry, you’re more likely to buy food that tempts you “at the moment”. You may see a bag of cookies or potato chips and get excited enough to stimulate your taste buds, eventually causing a mouth-watering sensation which leaves you more likely to purchase it. So, make sure you head to grocery store with a happy and satiated stomach so your appetite does not trick you and your wallet.
Take extra care when shopping with children. Many parents are influenced by children’s requests and end up buying more food and less healthy choices. If you can’t live home without your children, try to stick to your list and make sure your children aren’t hungry.
Food labels give you information to help you make healthier food choices and compare similar foods. Remember, always, always, always….read ingredient lists before you simply throw the item in your cart. Ingredients are listed by weight from most to least. The first few ingredients are those in the highest amounts. If one of the first 3 ingredients is salt, sodium, sugar, oil or fat, you may want to choose a different food, or use that food in small amounts.
A simple rule of thumb for label reading is to choose foods with no more than 5 ingredients, no artificial ingredients, or words you can’t pronounce. Always note the serving size and the calories per serving. All the values listed refer to a single serving so if you eat 2 servings, double each number to get the accurate nutrient count.
Be Adventurous – Try a New Food or Recipe
Trying new fruits and vegetables can be fun and cool. Adding a fruit or vegetables you have never tried is a good way to establish healthy shopping habit. You never know what you may end up loving or hating. Incorporating new, exciting colors and flavours into meals will provide healthier lives for you and your family. You never know until you try!
Shop the Perimeter First, then Center Aisles
The center aisles of the grocery store are where most processed and junk food items are found. Shopping the perimeter will lead you to the sections with fruit, vegetables, dairy, meat and fish first. By the time you make your way around the perimeter you cart might be too full to even shop the centre aisle. Fill your cart with healthy perimeter items first, so you won’t spend as much time or money in the junk aisles.
To make shopping easier, group your grocery list items according to the aisles of the grocery store.
My Top 6 Centre Aisle Foods
- Dried and canned beans
- Frozen fruit and vegetables
- Dried herbs and spices
- Vegetables oils
- Whole grains
- Nuts and nut butters