When doing a big shop for groceries, think of the 80/20 rule; whereby, you should spend 80% of your time in the perimeter of the store and 20% of the time down the aisles. The best food for our bodies is whole food or even described as “live” food, meaning that eventually the food would spoil or “die”. This is best achieved by reading labels and choosing food that has less ingredients listed and ingredients that you can actually pronounce. Ever notice how some of the bread that you can buy seems to never grow mold? That is because of the additives and preservatives used in the process to increase the shelf life of the food preventing bacterial growth. Do your health a favor and choose whole foods over processed as much as possible.
10 of the Best Tips for Healthy Shopping:
- Don’t shop when you are hungry. You’ll end up impulse buying because your tummy is growling! Have at least a snack before you go.
- Make a list so you will stay focused instead of grabbing as you go. Obviously, you can choose different produce items based on sales or what looks especially appealing to you at the time.
- When shopping down the aisles, pretend the aisles are hot lava so try to get out of there as quickly as possible! The aisles are loaded with processed food that can sit on the shelves for months, perhaps years! Opt for fresh whenever possible. Healthiest items down the aisles are: 100% whole wheat bread, brown rice, oatmeal, olive oil, spices, canned beans, tomatoes and fruit (packed in water or light), organic corn chips, protein powders and protein bars, frozen fruit, coconut water, and dark chocolate (at least 72% cacao).
- If possible, choose organic produce if you are not likely to peel the vegetable or fruit. Non-organic produce is exposed to pesticides and sprays to keep them fresh longer and can be harmful to your system. Learn what is considered the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen. Choose a variety of colours for their polyphenol benefits.
- Choose Greek yogurt over regular yogurt as it has more protein with just as much calcium and other nutrients for you. It’s best to go for the plain variety and add fresh fruit and chopped nuts.
- Choose cage free eggs when buying eggs. All eggs provide a good protein source, however, cage-free hens eat a more diverse diet leading to more nutrients in their eggs.
- When buying chicken, turkey, pork or beef (not the minced variety) remember your serving is approximately the size and thickness of the palm of your hand. Often these meats are packaged in much larger quantities which means often you can cut them in half. Limit red meat consumption to once per week as it contains more saturated fat than other types of meat.
- Choose low fat cheeses when possible to provide a good source of protein with less saturated fat. Edam cheese sticks are a good staple to have on hand for snacks. It’s better to add a few nuts to the low fat cheese than to eat the full fat varieties.
- When buying fish, think of the size and thickness of your hand (closed fingers/thumb) for a good guide for the portion you need to eat. Choose wild caught varieties if affordable; however, eating some fish rather than no fish is better for your health. Choose canned tuna packed in water instead of oil.
- Choose organic corn chips when possible. According to the US newspaper recently, “roughly three-fourths of non-organic products on grocery shelves contain engineered ingredients, mainly from corn and soy.” Organic foods do cost more but think quality over quantity.