Do you want to know the easiest way to stop eating foods that aren’t good for you? Stop buying them! Start thinking of the grocery store as your gateway to good health, and your grocery cart is what leads you there! Follow these tips and watch with pride as your groceries are packed into bags, knowing that you and your family will be eating and feeling better than ever, while saving money, too!
Bring a list:
Make a list at home and stick to it, especially if you find yourself hungry and reaching for the chips and doughnuts. Once you bring them into the house, you know they will be eaten. This is a helpful tip for both saving money and managing your waistline.
Focus on the perimeter:
Many of you have heard this advice before and it’s true, some of the healthiest foods in the grocery store are found around the perimeter of the store – but not ALL of them. It’s good to always shop these important areas: the deli (lean protein and low fat cheese), produce (fresh fruits and vegetables, herbs), bakery (whole grain breads), seafood counter (high omega-3 fish), dairy (low fat milk, cheese and yogurt) and the meat counter (lean poultry). While you want to shop the perimeter carefully, be sure to also shop the inside aisles for many other healthy choices.
When you do head down the inside aisles of the store you need to practice label reading. In particular, look for high fiber foods, that are low in sugar, sodium and saturated or trans fats. Packaged foods with the fewest ingredients are usually best. Avoid those with numerous additives and unrecognizable ingredients.
Healthy cart checklist:
- Fruits and vegetables – fresh and frozen (look for those that are most colorful)
- Whole grains (bulgur, quinoa, oats) and 100% whole wheat breads
- Non-fat and low fat dairy products (yogurt, milk and cheese)
- Lean proteins (poultry, fish and eggs)
- Herbs and spices (to replace salt and fat in recipes) – curry, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon
- Nuts and seeds (raw, salt-less variety are best)
- Fiber-rich, low-sugar cereals
- Canned tomato products
- Hummus, salsa and guacamole for snacking
- Green, white or black tea
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Expeller presser organic canola oil
- Balsamic or red wine vinegar for homemade salad dressings
- Dark chocolate (for your sweet tooth)