Smart Food Shopping
Smart Food Shopping
Going grocery shopping can be a stressful event, especially if you don’t go with a game plan. There are so many choices and it seems like you can never buy exactly what you need or have enough money for what you want.
In order to be prepared, you must make a grocery list. Not only should you make a list and stick to it, but you must never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. These tips will help you avoid any impulse purchases. When planning, take into consideration the weekly store specials in your area and any coupons that will help with those purchases.
Start shopping the perimeter and then shop the inner aisles, if needed.
- Stock up on fruits and vegetables that are in season. They will cost less and taste great. Don’t forget that you can freeze some of your fruits and vegetables and cook/eat them later. (https://nchfp.uga.edu/how/freeze.html)
- Choose lean sources of protein and low fat dairy products. Some options would be choosing loin and round cuts of meat; breast meat and skinless poultry, fish and 1% or less with milk and yogurt. Choose yogurts that don’t have fruit on the bottom. Add your own fruit or choose flavored/blended yogurts. When it comes to selecting cheese, choose a reduced fat cheese (2%) often.
- Eggs are also an excellent source of protein. You can choose whole eggs, whole eggs that have less cholesterol and added nutrients or liquid egg whites.
- If you make a pit stop in the bakery, limit the calorie dense bakery items such as cupcakes, cakes, donuts and pastries. Instead, choose the whole grain breads, rolls or bagels.
- When it comes to breads, cereals, rice, crackers and pastas, only half of your grains need to be whole grain. Aim to have a good source of fiber in your whole grain product. A good source of fiber is three grams or more per serving and an excellent source of fiber is five grams or more per serving.
- Be careful with the added sugars. For every four grams of sugar on the label, per serving, it is equivalent to one teaspoon of sugar. Try to keep your sugar intake a third or less of total carbohydrate, per serving. Fruit, 100% fruit juice, milk and yogurt have natural sugars, no added sugars, unless specified on the ingredient list.
- Salt is found in many processed foods. Aim to limit canned foods, cured meats, high calorie frozen meals or pizzas, frozen vegetables that have secret sauces, some condiments, boxed meals and cheese. If you choose items that are low or no salt, you are in control of how much salt is added to your meal.
- You can purchase plenty of frozen fruits, vegetables and some frozen meals that can be incorporated into your daily regimen. Limit the added sugars and sauces that can increase the calories, fat and sodium content.
- Snack foods can be part of a healthy eating plan. Some healthier snack food items are, fat-free popcorn, pretzels, dried fruit, some granola bars, nuts, seeds and crackers. Read the nutrition fact label to make sure these snack food items fit into your eating plan.
- Once you have consumed a healthy meal and made your detailed grocery list, don’t visit any aisles that aren’t specific to your list. This may also lead to an impulse purchase since the temptation will be right in front of you. Have a set game plan and try your best to stick to it. Remember, the outcome will be healthier foods in your pantry and fridge and a lower grocery bill.
Christina Bartlett RD, LD is a Registered Dietitian and the owner of Everything In Moderation. Dedicated to providing nutrition information that is tailored to the individual.
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This post originally appeared on our July/August 2012 Magazine