Navigating your local grocery store can sometimes feel like a daunting task. Fresh or frozen? Low-fat or non-fat? Is the salad bar always off limits? Focus on the following tips to make your next food shopping trip a little easier:
Go with a list. And stick to it! Planning out your meals will help you save time and money. Decide what foods you need for the week and how much of each item you need before going to the store. This step will also help you avoid unnecessary “junk” food purchases.
Know your store. Getting to know the layout of your grocery store can save time by avoiding sections with less nutritionally valuable foods. Fortunately, your major food groups — fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy — are typically stored together. Identify which part of the store these food groups are found and aim to stick to those sections when you do your shopping to ensure you are buying healthy, nutritionally dense food.
Start with the perimeter. Most grocery stores are organized with the least processed foods along the perimeter of the store. Start with the produce section and make your way around the permiter of the store, stopping at dairy, meats, frozen foods. In most stores processed foods, like, candy and soda, are in the middle aisles, so avoiding these aisles will decrease temptation.
Read the facts. Nutrition Facts labels come in handy when trying to make healthier food choices — think: less sugar or sodium. When reading the Nutrition Facts panel consider this:
Keep these Low:
Look for More of these:
vitamins A, C, & E
calcium, potassium, magnesium & iron
** Use the %Daily Value (DV) column when possible: 5% DV or less is low, 20% DV or more is high.
Interested in learning more? Starting April 26, the team at OnPoint Nutrition will be providing free educational grocery tours at local Whole Foods locations. Get all of the details here.
Annie Courto is a full-time Registered Dietitian with OnPoint Nutrition, providing weight loss and nutrition counseling.
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