All of us would like to shop healthier at the grocery store, right? I’ve put together my all-time best 11 tricks to shopping smarter. After this post, not only will you know what to shop for, but you’ll even be able to get out of the store even faster! You’ll know exactly what to look for and be in and out!
11 Secrets Shop Healthier at the Grocery Store
1. Plan Ahead
We’ve all went into Kroger hungry. This is the first no-no to shopping healthier at the grocery store. Have a small snack before going in to prevent impulse buys.
The 2nd tip in planning ahead is to have a meal plan. This not only can save you time and money through the week, but it will also help you identify where your diet could improve. For example, I may want Baked Lays in the house, but if I’m going to shop off a grocery list I’m less likely to put them on there and buy them because they are empty of nutrition.
2. Shop the Store’s Perimeter
Staying to the perimeter of the store will help you shop healthier at the grocery store more than anything else. This will expose you to fresh produce like vegetables and fruit, lean meat and dairy. It will also prevent you from seeing a lot of the boxed foods that don’t contain as much of nutrition as whole foods like those on the perimeter.
3. Not All Meat is Created Equal
If you’re wanting to shop healthier at the grocery store – your meat is something to watch. You’ll want to choose a 90%+ fat-free beef for the best healthy benefits. It’s also best to look for grass fed beef. Your best meats will also be organic and contain no antibiotics. If you love seafood, wild salmon contains more nutrients, less fat, and lower sodium than farm raised
4. Don’t be Fooled by Marketing
Big brands will “Natural” to market something. This does not mean it’s automatically a healthier option or contains no additives. Natural simply means nothing in terms of nutrition or value.
Another big brand-trick is to put “Gluten-Free” – some foods are just naturally gluten free and always have been. Also, not everyone has a gluten allergy. Gluten-free does not mean less calories or fat.
5. Know What You Should Splurge On
Some fruits and vegetables are more susceptible to being spray by chemicals or holding those chemicals. These are known as the Dirty Dozen. If at all possible, you should buy all 12 of these foods in the organic section of the grocery store. Peaches, apples, and berries are just 3 foods on the dirty dozen.
The Dirty Dozen, your meat, and your dairy should be organic if at all possible.
6. Know Where You Can Save Money
Foods with a hard exterior, like pineapple and bananas, are less likely to be contaminated so they could be bought in the normal section of the produce department if you wanted.
You can also save money while still shopping healthier at the grocery store by choosing frozen vegetable options. They are picked at the peak time and hold their nutrition when frozen.
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7. Skip the Boxes
The most nutritious foods are going to come from the ground (fruit, veggies, nuts) or have a mother (meats). Things that come in a box are manmade and can contain additives, preservatives, and artificial ingredients.
8. Know Your Grains
Most of us don’t make our own bread or pasta, and that’s totally okay. It’s important to look for whole grain options, but you must check the label. Even popular “whole grain” options will contain only 50% whole grain and then have fillers like enriched flour. Your grains should not list enriched flour anywhere in the label.
9. Know Your Labels
Going off secret #8, you want to know your food’s nutrition labels. Typically the rule is 5 ingredients or less. You want to avoid enriched flour, MSG, and partially hydrogenated oils. If you buy coconut milk, make sure to check out this article as well.
10. Keep Convenience in Mind
When changing your habits and shopping healthier at the grocery store, you may want to go hardcore and not allow any wiggle room. But is that something that works with your daily life? Finding options that are healthier and still convenient is key. For example, I love Eggland’s Hardboiled Eggs. They aren’t organic which isn’t ideal, but they are already cooked, shelled and perfect on the go.
Rotisserie chicken is another go-to quick staple on a busy night for dinner. It’s not organic at my grocery store, but it sure beats going to a fast food joint.
Find what works for you, and be educated on what you’re putting in your body.
11. Watch Your Serving Size
Even the healthiest foods have a proper serving size. If you’re buying something pre-packaged, the label will tell you how many servings are in the container. If it’s not something pre-packaged (which hopefully most of your food isn’t!) you can view this portion control guide for your meals, or I love the 21 Day Fix’s portion controlled containers.