Whether you are a seasoned cook or someone who has found a new passion for cooking, good nutrition starts at the grocery store! With so many options to explore, it is important that we are choosing the right products and ingredients. With a little guidance and support, grocery shopping can feel less like a chore, and more of a pleasure. Below are some tips recommended by our registered and licensed dietitian to help
Make a List
Before you go shopping, plan your meals for the week and check your refrigerator or pantry to figure out what you have versus what you will need to purchase from the grocery store. Planning out your meals will not only help ensure you are staying on track for your calories and nutrients, but it will also help you stay on track financially. By making a list, you avoid going into the store without a plan, which decreases the urge for impulse buys. Take a look at our article for tips help spring into good health!
Choose Fresh or Frozen Fruits and Vegetables
Seasonal fruits and vegetables are not only healthy, but they are typically budget friendly as well. Frozen vegetables are also budget conscious buys as they will last longer and can be stored away in the freezer until ready for use. Remember to choose plain frozen vegetables (instead of vegetables mixed in sauces) because those products tend to contain more sodium and sugar.
Choose Whole-Grain Foods.
Many products may say Whole Grain on the label but may not be exactly what they claim. To know for sure, read the ingredients list and look for the word “whole”, followed by a specific grain name (such as whole wheat, whole oats, or whole brown rice). This should be the first item in the ingredients list. The Daily Value for added sugars is 50 grams per day based on a 2,000-calorie daily diet. Any product over that amount should be consumed sparingly or avoided.
Look Out for Added Sugars
Added sugars now come in many forms and with different names. Some common added sugars include corn syrup, concentrated fruit juice, honey, organic raw cane sugar, agave, rice malt syrup, glucose, coconut sugar, date sugar, and dextrose. The most recent update to the nutrition facts labels also separates added sugars from the naturally occurring sugars. This will help you make an informed decision.
Don’t Go Shopping on an Empty Stomach
Shopping while hungry can lead to purchasing high calorie snack foods or foods that may not be as healthy to satisfy your craving. Also, it will allow you to stay focused on your prepared shopping list and budget.
The next time you go to the grocery store, try to implement at least one of these tips. Always remember your health is your wealth!