Healthier Eating Habits Start at the Grocery Store

Grocery shopping is a vital part of living a healthy lifestyle. If you have healthy foods in your house, you're more likely to eat healthy foods. I know it can be overwhelming when you're trying to clean things up, but when given the right tips and tricks in your toolbelt, grocery shopping can be easier, cheaper, and, most importantly, healthier. Here are some mistakes you might be making and some ways you can turn them around.

Starting through the middle aisles Always shop the perimeter, or the outer aisles, of the store first. And if you want to eat clean and healthy, that is where you should be buying a majority of your food. The outside of the store is where you will find fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, dairy, and lean meats. Where do you find the chips, canned meats, sugar, sports drinks, and white crackers? NOT the perimeter.

Of course there are healthy foods in the center aisles too, like frozen fruits and veggies, oatmeal, dry beans, and essential items for making homemade food. But shop the outer perimeters first and you will find that you go home with a greater percentage of good-for-you food, rather than looked-good-at-the-time food.

Showing up unprepared “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” I’m not sure if Mr. Franklin was referring to Grocery Shopping when he said these famous words, but they are very fitting. Here’s how to show up prepared:

Use a menu plan, or make one of your own. It can be as vague or detailed as you prefer, as long as it is a PLAN for the week.

Then use the meal plan to make a list of what you need. This is where you’ll want to get more detailed. How much of each ingredient do you need for the recipes you’re using? Check your list with what you already have on hand. If you’re trying to save money, this is where you can compare your list to the sale ads from area grocery stores. Lastly, rewrite your list in the order of the store. This way, you won’t be taking detours and constantly back tracking. This will save you time, money, and probably calories too.

Shopping out of season Nearly every fruit and vegetable has a season when it is fresher, tastier, more available, and cheaper. Stick with what’s in season to get the best quality, taste, price and nutrient value! For example, squash, apples and pumpkins are great in the fall. And berries, tomatoes, and melons are amazing in the summer. Each season has its own stars, so shop accordingly.

Not reading labels

  • Limit your intake of sodium, saturated fat, and added sugar.

  • Avoid trans fat.

  • Make sure to get enough of the good guys like calcium, fiber, vitamins, and potassium.

  • Avoid foods with lots of additives, dyes, and artificial flavors. The ingredients are listed in descending order according to their amount in the package. Also, a good rule of thumb is to stick to foods with 5 ingredients or less.

What’s in a package of strawberries: Strawberries.

What’s in a packaged snack pie? You should google it, and then sit down before you read it. You’ll be there a while.

Shopping while hungry Timing is everything. You can plan very precisely, but if you go on your grocery shopping spree when you are hungry, bad things WILL happen! You will be more likely to grab things that look good, and therefore, deter from your list, which is bad for your health and your wallet. So make sure to go shopping after a meal. So, just remember: Eat. Then Shop.

I hope this helps you on your next grocery trip! Let me know!

And don't forget about my free 5 Day Spring Clean Your Wellness Challenge starting next week!

If we haven't had the pleasure of connecting yet, please find me @meganholmeswellness and say hello!

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