Tips for Healthy Grocery Shopping Success

healthy-groceries250x250Have you ever left the grocery store with more food than you intended to buy? Has that extra food ended up being chips, cookies, or sugar-sweetened sodas? It’s easy to feel tempted by the products the store has on display. Keep in mind that the main goal of many stores is to advertise cheap and appealing products rather than healthy and nutritious ones. In order to help you maintain your healthy eating goals, follow these tips for grocery shopping success.

Before beginning your trip, make a list of items to buy. This will prevent purchasing unnecessary food. It may also help to eat a meal or snack at home before heading to the store. Shopping on an empty stomach makes it more tempting to purchase unhealthy junk food. If you do end up at the store while you are hungry, head straight for the produce section. Choosing your fruits and vegetables first will help keep your mind on track to shop healthy.

Often, companies advertise foods as healthy when in reality, they might not be the best for our bodies. For example, some cereals are advertised as “made with whole grains.” Although whole grains are a healthy choice, many of these cereals contain 10-15 grams of added sugars per serving. In order to understand the ingredients in your food, try looking at Nutrition Facts Labels. The goal is to keep total fat, sodium, and sugar as low as possible.

In order to help you keep MyPlate in mind while grocery shopping, follow these tips:

  • Fruits and vegetables
    • Purchase fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables. When buying canned products, look for “no salt added” vegetables. Fruit should be canned in juice rather than syrup.
  • Dairy
    • Look for low fat or fat free dairy options. You can also try an alternative dairy product, such as unsweetened almond milk or unsweetened soy milk.
    • Many brands of yogurt add extra fat and sugar. In order to avoid this, try plain fat-free Greek yogurt and add fresh berries and nuts or granola for flavor.
  • Protein
    • Canned or dried legumes are a great source of protein and fiber, keeping you full longer. Legumes, such as black beans, pinto beans, and black eyed peas are easy to add to soups and saladS.
    • When shopping for meat, choose leaner meats such as fish and chicken. If you do purchase red meat, look for 90% or greater lean products.
  • Grains
    • According to the Dietary Guidelines for America, half of your grains should be whole. Search for whole grains, such as 100% whole wheat products, corn, oatmeal, popcorn, brown rice, and whole barley.

For more information about healthy grocery shopping, visit these websites:
http://www.nutrition.gov/shopping-cooking-meal-planning/food-shopping-and-meal-planning/build-healthy-diet-smart-shopping
http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/wecan/eat-right/smart-food-shopping.htm

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