Fit & Fresh

How to Navigate the Grocery Store Like a Healthy Pro

Grocery Story

The grocery store haul. Do you love it or hate it? For me, stepping foot in a grocery store is like going to the nearest department store. I immediately get mesmerized by all of the fresh produce and foods, as if I was looking at racks of gorgeous pieces of clothes.

I know I might be one of a few when it comes to enjoying the grocery shopping experience, so I’m going to show you how to shop the store like a healthy pro!

Arrive prepared and with a full belly. There’s nothing worse than going to the grocery store when all you want to do is eat everything in sight. When my stomach is rumbling, things like chips, cookies and fancy drinks make their way into my cart that don’t need to be there! Having a snack before you go ensures that you can stick to your list, and get in and get out.

Whenever I take my clients grocery shopping, I always have them put together a list before we go. This way, they know exactly what they need instead of playing the guessing game or needing to take a second (or third) trip to the store because they forgot something.

Shop the perimeter of the store. I know you’ve probably heard this one before, but it’s so important! When talking about a healthy lifestyle, the goal is to fill your body with nutrient-dense, whole foods. These are foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. By shopping the perimeter, you are able to stock up on fresh foods and avoid the processed foods (aka, the “boxes or bags”).

Clean 15 and Dirty 12. Have you ever heard of the clean fifteen and dirty dozen? Clients often ask me which foods to buy organic, and I often point them to this list that can be found on the Environmental Working Group’s website, here. I like to keep a printed version in my wallet so that I can pull it out while shopping the produce section.

The “Clean 15” means that this list of foods contains the least amount of pesticides and is okay to buy conventional. On the other hand, the “Dirty 12” have the highest amounts of pesticides, so you want to be sure to buy these organic when you can.

Read the labels! I know I just said to shop the perimeter of the store, but sometimes, heading to the aisles is a necessity. Sure, you could make homemade tomato sauce at home, but you only have 10 minutes to throw dinner together so an already prepared sauce is more realistic.

When shopping the aisles, it’s important to pay attention to the nutrition labels, specifically, the ingredient list.

  • Is it short and can you pronounce/recognize each food on the list?
  • Is it something you could technically make at home?
  • Is sugar listed as one of the first few ingredients (a sign you need to put that box back on the shelf)?

These are some of the questions I ask myself to help filter out the okay products versus the highly processed ones.

I hope these tips help make your grocery shopping experience a more enjoyable and knowledgeable one!

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