Grocery Shopping 101
By: Emily Hoffman, MS, RD, LD/N
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 stumbling block while trying to lose weight and they can be daunting if you don't know how to navigate through them. However, grocery shopping is a very 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. Include some easy to prepare meals every week for those "hurry-up and eat" meals. Then shop accordingly. This stocks your kitchen with meals that you know are healthy. You don't have to eat the meals in any particular order. 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 will 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 the 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 lean. When picking meats; choose mostly fish, poultry, ground sirloin, lean meats. Eggs, nuts, tofu, seeds, and beans are also good sources of protein.
- Dairy products should be low-fat. If you do not like cow's milk or are lactose intolerant, choose lactose free milk or light 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 perimeter. In 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.
Look for the savings. No one wants to spend a ton of money at the grocery store, so check out the coupons before you go. Two for one deals are good for things you regularly buy, but don't let them fool you into buying something you won't eat just because it was a good deal. Store brand items generally cost less and taste about the same, so try those. Also, don't be afraid to check out the farmers market for your fruit and vegetables, they will taste better and cost less.
The preceding information was provided by Emily Hoffman, MS, RD, LD/N at Memorial Hospital.