With over 7,000 food items to choose from grocery shopping can be quite the challenge. Although it’s nice to dine out, eating at home instead of dining out for 1 meal every week, saves up to $364 per person per year! In addition to the cost, most restaurant food doesn’t compare to the nutritional benefits of fresh foods from home. Learn how to benefit your body and your budget with the shopping tips below.
Set-Up For Grocery Shopping Success
1. Make a List
Failing to plan is planning to fail. Be prepared by making a list of items needed ahead of time. A game plan makes it easier to eat well, prevents you from stocking the cart with junk food and keeps you within budget!
2. Eat Before You Go
Hungry shoppers usually buy more food and make poorer choices. Eat before shopping to keep from buying every “drool-worthy” item in sight.
3. Include Helpers
Teaching your family to eat more nutritious foods starts with involving them when shopping. Encourage them to read labels, add food to the cart, and find ingredients on your list. Being included in the process can help your family develop more awareness for nutrition and gets them excited to eat healthier.
Focus on the ingredients listed. Less is best! Look for whole foods, low in sugar (less than 5 grams per serving), with minimal ingredients. Avoid any products with the words low-fat, non-fat, low-calorie or diet.
5. Shop The Perimeter
Although the clever packaging on processed products can make them seem like “health foods,” your body will benefit much more if you stick with the single ingredient foods along the perimeter of the store.
6. Check For Freshness
Check the expiration date and reach for foods in the back of the pile/shelf.
7. Buy In Bulk
Stock up on frozen fruits and vegetables so you always have something healthy at home. You can also buy dried ingredients in bulk, which can help you stick to the perimeter during the rest of your shopping trips.
Grocery shop online with Thrive Market, US Wellness Meats, Butcher Box and Instacart. Get help planning meals with Real Plans meal plan subscription. View these Menu Options & Meal Ideas for inspiration. Meal delivery services, such as Pete’s Paleo and Paleo on the Go, help make eating easy effortless.
9. Drink More Water
Soft drinks, sports drinks, sweetened teas, caffeinated concoctions, low-fat milk and many alcohol beverages provide shocking amounts of sugar, artificial sweeteners and other hazardous ingredients. Ditch the sugar and save money by sticking with water as your main beverage.
Opt for organic, GMO-free foods. Avoid processed products and the following high-risk crops: alfalfa, canola, corn, cotton, papaya, soy, sugar beets, zucchini and yellow summer squash.
Produce: local, organic
Nuts & seeds: organic, unsalted
Meats: local, organic, hormone/antibiotic-free, pastured
Poultry & eggs: local, organic, hormone/antibiotic-free, free-range
Fish & seafood: wild, low in mercury
Dairy: organic, hormone/antibiotic-free, full-fat, plain, grass-fed
Grains: gluten-free, minimally processed
Organic or Non-Organic
Read produce PLU stickers. Choose organic foods with 5 numbers on the label and start with 9, such as 92345. Avoid GMO PLU stickers that have 5 numbers on the label and start with 8, such as 82345
Dirty dozen foods to avoid: Apples, celery, strawberries, peaches, spinach, nectarines, grapes, sweet bell pepper, potato, blueberries, lettuce, kale and collards.
Clean 15 safe foods: Onions, sweet corn, pineapple, avocado, asparagus, sweet peas, mangoes, eggplant, cantaloupe, kiwi, cabbage, watermelon, sweet potatoes, grapefruit and mushrooms.
- Are You Reading Food Labels Wrong?
- Set-Up For Success: Healthy Kitchen
- 10 Dangerous Ingredients You Need To Ditch
- How To Eat Healthy On a Budget
Cate Ritter is a Certified Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® Practitioner specializing in weight loss, digestive health and hormone balance. In-person, Skype, phone and corporate health programs available.