The grocery store is a tricky place. There’s thousands of options for you to choose from – how do you navigate down the cookie aisle? Make sure to read the tips below that can support you in your next grocery shopping adventure.
Shop for produce first
Load up your cart with all your fresh produce first. That way, by the time you get to the cookie aisle, you’ll already have a cart full of healthier choices. 🙂
When shopping produce, always remember to shop the Clean 15. Have you heard of the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15? These lists, published by the Environmental Working Group, inform us of which produce are likely to have pesticides and which aren’t. Always reference these lists to see exactly which produce you’ll definitely need to buy organic, and which ones you may not need to. I understand buying organic can be so expensive, so if you need to budget, be sure to check the Clean 15 list!
Also, when shopping produce, greens are important but even more so is eating the rainbow. That way you’ll get the full spectrum of nutrients and vitamins. Each of the colors of your produce signify different key nutrients. For example, red fruits and veggies support heart and brain function. Yellow fruits and veggies improve circulation. Orange fruit are full of beta carotene and Vitamin C and great for eye health and immunity. As you can see, each serves a purpose!
Read the ingredients! Find the least processed foods
When you shop breads, cereals, pasta, grains, even cookies and chips – it’s really important to read the labels. Choose the least processed. Sometimes products can say made with whole grains but when you read through the ingredients, there are lots of additives. A whole grain should be listed first in the ingredient list.
Also when looking at the ingredient list for any food, take a look at the fiber content. Women need about 25g of fiber a day and a typical diet consumes less than that. The suggested amount for whole grains is to get at least 4g of fiber per serving.
When you’re shopping your whole grains, opt for brown rice, quinoa, barley – which are three of my favorites.
As for cookies and sweets, there are so many healthy options! Look for ingredients that you know. When you start seeing chemicals and dyes listed, there may be other alternatives that taste just as great.
Bulk bin it
The bulk bins at the store are great for experimentation and also for loading up on your favorite grains and nuts. It’s cheaper than the prepackaged items and you get to control the exact amount you need. If you are new to trying quinoa or lentil, try picking up a little that you need in the bulk bin and then you won’t have to waste any. On the flip side, if you know you love something pick up a ton and save it for later
Don’t avoid the freezer section
Yes it can be filled with our favorite ice cream and goodies but it also has frozen fruit that are great in smoothies.
Go with a plan
While I am a fan of occasionally going down each aisle at a store just to discover new products, generally speaking, it is definitely a good idea to go with a list in hand. When you have a plan, for anything in life!, you set yourself up for success. With a grocery list, you won’t overload on too many unnecessary foods that may not be great for you.
Canned foods are nutritious too
I used to think canned anything was bad for you – full of preservatives and added syrups. While that may be true for some canned fruit and other items, it’s not true for the whole aisle! I stock my pantry up with all kinds of canned legumes and low sodium broths because you can have a healthy meal in minutes.
Go with unflavored
Unflavored, original or plain versions of foods are usually the most nutritious because it has fewer ingredients and additives. The great thing about the plain flavor is you get to mix in whatever ingredients you want to suit your tastebuds. Often times, purchasing a plain yogurt instead of a strawberry flavored, one for example, can leave us room to add fresh strawberries instead.
What do you think about the above tips? Are there any you’d add to the list?