Grocery Shopping Tips
Grocery shopping is one of the most essential steps to keep you eating healthy and nourishing your body. I know there are different apps, lists and other tools but despite all that, the important thing is to make sure the kitchen has the essential products to prepare a balanced and nutritious meal. If you don’t restock your kitchen often enough, it’s going to be difficult to make and prepare food for yourself. And if that doesn’t happen, your chances are much higher of resorting to less nutritious and more expensive options like takeout.
With that being said, there is a way to buy what’s healthy without spending countless hours shopping and overspending your money! Let’s start with some pre-grocery shopping tips:
- Make sure you eat before doing your groceries. The reason behind this is, when your body is hungry, it is in a stressed state and craves sugar and fat for energy. If you head into the grocery store famished, before you know it, you are adding cookies or any fast and sugary product to your cart and opening them in your lap on the way home. To avoid this, make sure to have a snack or balanced meal at least 1 or 2 hours before you go shopping.
- Plan ahead. This will help you to save time and money. Once you have a list with the ingredients for the meals you would like to prepare, you will avoid buying things you DON’T need. This also helps you to stick to your nutritional goals.
- The perimeter. The fresh produce, meat, fish, and dairy are all on the outside perimeter of most grocery stores and should be the main focus of your grocery purchases. By not going down all the aisles, you can avoid many of the temptations that can come with grocery shopping such as chips, ice cream, cake, crackers, etc. However, other products such as canned and dried beans, oatmeal, canned tuna, nuts and seeds, spices, and seasonings are in the aisles. That’s why my recommendation is to avoid the aisles that have “temptation” foods and stick with the ones that have healthy options.
Now, let's talk about how to buy in the grocery stores!
Read the ingredients and label. When buying packaged food is important to identify healthy options from the ones that are not that healthy. To do this, review the ingredients of the product and try to choose foods with no more than five ingredients, no artificial ingredients, or words you are not able to pronounce. Always note the serving size and the calories per serving. All the values listed refer to a single serving, so if you eat two servings, double each number to get the accurate nutrient count. Don’t feel like you need to analyze every single food label when you may not understand what it means. Just look for ingredients you can recognize first.
Make sure that half of your cart is produce.
We need around five to seven servings of vegetables, and 3-4 of fruit every day, yet many people can complete their whole grocery shopping trip without one vegetable added to the cart. To ensure you are getting all your micronutrients, aim to have at least half your grocery cart filled with plant-based items. Also, don’t be afraid to try new fruits or vegetables. You can be surprised when you explore and open up your diet. This will increase the variety in your diet, which is key for proper nutrition.
Bread recommendations: Ezekiel sprouted grain bread and Alvarado Street Bakery breads are healthy options because they are higher in protein and fiber, and lower in sugar. They both contain the entire grain, which has been sprouted, so some of its nutrients, such as the B vitamins, are more bio-available. Find these breads in the freezer section. They have no preservatives, so I recommend refrigerating or freezing them so they last longer.
Frozen Food. The frozen aisle has definitely improved over the years. Frozen can be just as healthy as fresh and is a great way to preserve flavor, quality and nutrients. Therefore, don’t be afraid to buy frozen products and use the same recommendations we discussed earlier (like reading the ingredients) to select the healthy ones.