Grocery shopping can be a nightmare for consumers. There is an overwhelming amount of choices to be made while you’re filling your shopping cart. You have to consider the type of product you want, the brand you will be buying, price, quality, and nutritional content. If that isn’t enough most products are being designed and packaged to catch the consumer’s hungry eyes. There is definitely a health trend sweeping our nation and a desire for most people to take better care of their bodies. Even the “junk food” companies are in on this campaign. With an organized approach to grocery shopping anyone can find healthy foods at the grocery store.
The best plan to finding healthy foods at a grocery store starts before you even leave the house. Get a pen and some paper and start writing your game plan. Some things to consider when making your shopping list; what meals will you be having this week? What type of nutritionally sound snacks do you want in between meals? What items do you need? What products do you know you absolutely have to avoid? If you have a sweet tooth or crave the fried chicken from the deli section knowing your pitfalls ahead of time will save not only money but also extra gym time! Make a list of the healthful items you plan to purchase. You will want to incorporate fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grain breads, dairy, healthy fats, and whatever else your specific diet calls for.
Now that you have your list prepared you are almost ready to walk through those automatic doors and grocery shop. Another way to guarantee success for finding healthy foods at the grocery store is to avoid shopping with an empty stomach. When a hungry consumer enters the grocery store they are going to become victim to splurge spending and pick up every tasting looking treat. Eat some nuts or fruit before hand to fill your stomach and give you the gusto to get through your shopping trip. Also, be sure to only take the necessary amount of money to cover the items on your prepared shopping list. This will combat any cravings you get for those sweet treats because you won’t have enough to cover the cost.
So you’re at the grocery store and you’re reading to shop! As you’re navigating through the diverse items and various brands you will still have deciding to do. Let’s start in the fruit and vegetable section. When you’re choosing these items you want the freshest product you can find. Avoid buying frozen fruit and vegetables because often times the nutrients you desire will be lost in the process of thawing or heating. Fresh produce offers the most benefits for you health. As you make your way to the meat section you will be faced with literally hundreds of choices. For example, you want to have a nice night outside this summer with your family and make hamburgers on the grill. Easy enough, you should grab some ground beef! Right? Wrong! We are fortunate enough to have the options we do while grocery shopping, while they may seem too numerous and overwhelming. Look for ground chicken or turkey instead of ground beef. These products tend to be more lean (less fat) and offer a great amount of protein is essential to good health. If you are a vegetarian in any degree, there is almost always a section that has soy products.
The most important step to find healthy foods at a grocery store lies in the package of the product itself. You will need to consider your budget and the nutritional content of each product to know what item is best for you. If you are in the pasta section and want to pick up spaghetti start with the label. There is always a nutritional facts box that will tell you how much fat, sodium, sugar, protein, cholesterol, etc. is in each suggested serving size. This will be a great basis for comparison between the different brands of the same product. You will also want to check the ingredient list. Here you will find very valuable information. You can find out if the product is a high starch item or if it’s made with whole grains. You can also see if the main ingredient starts out with something of less nutritional value such as high fructose corn syrup. The nutritional facts and ingredient list will be your guide to differentiating between a healthy product and an impostor.
The last trick for finding health food is to remember if it looks too good to be true it probably is. This is really important with all the new packaging and “100 calorie packs” that are being advertised for healthy shoppers who still want to indulge. Be sure to check the labels on these products as well. They may only have 100 calories in each package but the fat content and ingredients might tell you a different story. The too good to be true policy is also important with products that advertise as “Fat Free”, “Full of Fiber”, “Sugar Free”, or any other healthy eye catching phrase. Most times when a product is lacking fat or sugar it makes up for it in another area. Even products that state they are full of fiber can turn out to be an unhealthy version of them. How else do you think massive amounts of fiber are made to taste so good; usually the product has added sugar to cover the taste?
Knowing how to approach grocery shopping coupled a smart eye can help save your wallet and your waistline. By planning for success and having a structured plan you are more likely to find healthy foods at the grocery store. Having your goals and plans written down always helps to ensure success.