Written by Sarah Achleithner, BS, Nutrition Communications Coordinator for Triad to Wellness
Grocery shopping tends to be the only kind of shopping we loathe. Everyone has their reasons why (i.e. the type of people, unforgiving checkout lines, squeaky carts, or overwhelming amounts of food) and we try to delay the inevitable as much as possible. However, the fact of the matter is that everyone has to grocery shop at one point or another, despite the overwhelming amount of excuses. Trust me–I totally get it! Trying to navigate through an already crowded store is exhausting enough, but when trying to sift through the thousands of food choices available, it can be hard to decipher between a marketed “healthy” food and a nutritionally dense food. So, I’m here today to bring you some easy (and practical!) solutions to make the most out of your grocery shopping experience. Continue reading to find out how making a few simple changes will benefit your overall health!
1. Make simple food substitutions. One of the easiest ways to get more nutritional value into the recipes you create is to substitute white grains for whole grains. Instead of buying white, refined pasta, try buying the whole wheat pasta next to it.The same goes for rice, bread or cereal–anything that has a whole grain substitute, try it out instead. It will taste better, you will get more nutrients out of it, and it’s an easy way to increase the nutritional value of any meal you create. You can also try buying regular steel cut oats instead of instant flavored oatmeal for your morning breakfast. This simple swap will eliminate any excess sugar and unwanted calories found in premade containers. Still need flavor in your oatmeal? Just add fresh fruit and low fat milk!
*Tip: when buying whole wheat items, look on the ingredient list–the first ingredient should always be “whole grain”, not “multi-grain”, as this means something different.
2. Create a list. If you step into a store with no game plan, it will be that much more difficult to navigate the complex food aisles. Write down a detailed list of what you need for the week, including how many items you will need of each product (i.e. 5 bell peppers, 2 zucchini, 1 box whole wheat spaghetti noodles, 2 packs lean ground turkey) so you get the right numbers the first time around. Creating a list helps eliminate food waste, keeps you on track, and saves you money (as you won’t be going to the store every other day for something you forgot), so spend a few extra minutes creating a useful sheet before you leave and your trip will be much more successful.
3. Don’t shop on an empty stomach. This is my cardinal rule of grocery shopping! If you shop when you’re hungry, your chances of buying foods that you don’t need (such as processed, unhealthy food items) increase drastically. All schedules vary but, if possible, try to shop after you have eaten something to avoid excess purchasing. The last thing we want is to have a pantry full of unwanted food and throwing products away because they have either spoiled or no one is eating them!
How do you make your grocery shopping trip healthy and successful? Let us know below!