Finding healthy options in the grocery store can be challenging these days as nearly 80% of grocery items are unhealthy. Rules of what you should and shouldn’t have can get confusing. So, I’m gonna share some of my simple grocery shopping tips to make eating healthy a little easier.
Grocery Shopping Tips
- Make a list of some recipes for the week and plan healthy snacks/cravings/sweets. Then narrow down your list: see what you have already in your fridge & pantry and review the items that you still need. See if you can swap items to cut down on costs.
- Shop for mostly Whole Foods– foods that are closest to their natural state meaning whole fruit instead of fruit snacks. Choose lots of colors with fruits and veggies. Choose seasonal items at a lower cost.
- Shop The Outter Permiter of the store First– Fresh produce items first, then meat & dairy. You’ll spend less time in the sweets and snacks aisles. Only stop in the bakery section for healthy bread that’s 100% whole grain and high in fiber.
- When aisle shopping, the healthy options are usually not at eye level. Look on the very top or bottom shelves for alternative options. Big companies will have the spots right in your face so that you’re more likely to choose them. So the Doritos will be at your eye level and the fruit snack gushers will be at a child’s height. (Marketing at its best, You see it, you want it).
- Don’t fall for the Labels! Gluten-free doesn’t mean healthy. If the packaging is covered with health claims it’s probably not healthy. They don’t need to market apples and oranges but, companies do need to sell you granola bars and cereals because most of these are unhealthy with lots of hidden sugars.
- 5:1 Carb-to-Fiber Ratio– for every 5g of carbs, you should aim for 1g of fiber. Get your calculator if you need to and divide the total number of carbs by the amount of fiber and if it’s around 5 it goes in the cart. If it’s well over 5 see if you can find a better option.
- Meat– Grass-fed pasture-raised, Antibiotic, and hormone-free, less red meat. More lean meats and wild-caught fish. Buy in bulk, divide at home and freeze some to save time and some money.
- Complex Carbs– like oats, whole grains, sweet potato, brown rice, and quinoa. These are slower digesting, and provide vitamins, minerals, and fiber to help promote a healthy weight and gut function.
- Add more Healthy Fats & Fiber– Avocado, nuts, nut butter, beans, lentils, and cooking oils like extra virgin olive oil and avocado oil.
- Quick Freezer options– plan for the busy nights so we can cut down on last-minute fast food. Stock up on frozen veggies and grab a frozen pizza because some nights we just don’t have the time or effort to cook a healthy meal and that’s okay.
Things to Avoid/Limit
Do your best to limit these items in your cart. This doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy a microwave meal here and there, but eating this every day is taking a toll on your gut and overall health.
- Never Shop Hungry– You likely won’t make good choices.
- Highly Processed foods including refined grains like white flour used for baked goods, bagels, bread, pizza dough, crackers, etc. Anything that is prepackaged, frozen dinners, or meals in a box.
- Added Sugars– food companies often hide sugar in their food items to boost taste and sales. Sugar is addictive so you’re more likely to crave that item again if it’s got more sugar. Only, it’s hidden under nearly 100 different names like the popular High Fructose Corn Syrup, but also names like ethyl maltol and maltodextrin, which spikes your blood sugar way more than simple table sugar does. Tip: anything ending in “-ose” (like glucose) is usually some form of sugar.
- Hydrogenated & Partially Hydrogenated Oils– Often found in margarine, baked goods, sauces, and salad dressings. These oils are cheap and used to preserve food for longer shelf life. Hydrogenated oils use trans fats which are known to increase cholesterol, contribute to chronic disease and increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.
- Simple Carbs & Desserts- Pastries, cakes, brownies, and even muffins should be limited in your cart. Save these sweet treats for a special dinner or night out.
Hope you found these guidelines helpful so you can navigate through the grocery store and stick to your health and wellness goals.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is designed for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. This information should not be used to diagnose or treat any health conditions without consulting your healthcare provider. Information used is based on experience and opinion, not 100% evidence. Always consult with a health care practitioner before relying on any information in this article or on this website. Some links in this article may contain affiliate links.