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Grocery Shopping 101

12:51 PM, Mar 28, 2011   |    comments
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The following content is provided by Emily Hoffman, Clinical Dietician at Memorial Hospital.

 At the grocery store, it is easy to spend too long, too much money and still not arrive home with the foods that are healthy and will last you the week. Grocery stores can be a huge stumbling block while trying to lose weight, especially if you go to the grocery store hungry. You end up spending more money than expected buying high priced snack items to satisfy your hunger while you shop. However, grocery shopping is a useful tool in your weight loss journey. A successful healthy grocery shopping trip starts with a plan that takes your lifestyle into consideration. Here are a few tried and true principles to help you navigate the grocery store with confidence.  

Plan your meals.  Make a list of the meals you are to have for the week. Then shop accordingly.  This stocks your kitchen with meals that you know are healthy. The order to which you have each meal is up to you and your family.  Remember to check your refrigerator and pantry for foods you can use when making your meal plan.  You can use the Kick it Up First Coast meal plan to help you plan.


Make a Grocery List.  Using your meal plan as a guide, make a list of the foods you will need for the week. Here are a few principles that will keep you on track when making your list.


  • Fresh vegetables and fruits should make up the largest part of your grocery list.  Vegetables are high in vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants; additionally, they are usually low in calories.  You'll enjoy better flavor and lower prices when choosing seasonal fruits and vegetables.  Out-of-season vegetables can be expensive and often tasteless.
  • Most of your grain and cereal products should be made from whole grains, not refined flours.  Read labels to look for 100% whole-grain or 100% whole-wheat to be sure you are getting whole grain products. 
  • Protein and meat choices should be mostly fish, poultry and lean meats.  Eggs, nuts, tofu, seeds, and beans are also good sources of protein. 
  • Dairy products should be low-fat.  If you do not want cow's milk or are lactose intolerant, choose lactose free milk or soy milk.


Don't shop on an empty stomach. When you do, you end up buying more junk foods and spending a lot more. Eat a good meal or a hearty snack before shopping.  


Shop the perimeterIn most grocery stores, fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, and dairy products are found on the perimeter of the store, but don't forget to seed out the good stuff in the center aisles, like old-fashioned oatmeal, whole grain cereals, whole wheat pasta, dried beans, canned tomatoes, frozen vegetables and peanut butter.


Shop when it is slow. Generally, the slower times at the grocery store are during the day or later in the evening.  This will allow you not to feel rushed during your grocery trip, so you can make sure you get everything on your list. Also, if possible, shop alone. This will cut down on the Twinkies or Oreos that "end up" the in your cart at check out. Make grocery shopping as low stress as possible. 


Making changes in how you grocery shop, the way you cook, and the way you eat is an investment in your health and is key to successful, maintained weight loss. 

This content was provided by Emily Hoffman, Clinical Dietician at Memorial Hospital.

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