Carolyn Young

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4 Tips For Healthy Grocery Shopping

Photo by  Brooke Lark  on  Unsplash

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Guess where your healthy meal begins? 

In the grocery store, of course!

If you buy it, you'll most likely eat it. Choosing what to buy will determine how healthy your next meal is.

Supermarkets are a business. Their goal is to get you to buy as much as possible to increase their profits, even if it costs you your health. For that, they use marketing tools. 

In many supermarkets, there is the smell of freshly baked bread as soon as you walk through the doors. Products are set up in such a way to make sure you visit each and every aisle. The most expensive items are placed at eye level because we hardly ever look at the top shelves or squat down to look at the bottom ones. Food promotors are strategically placed offering free food samples, especially on the weekends when supermarkets are the busiest. 

But guess what? 

Knowing this works in your favor, because now you can avoid the pitfalls of supermarket shopping that sabotage your health.

I’m going to share with you some easy, practical and effective supermarket tips to make the most of your shopping day and get you your healthiest meals possible.

  1. Make a list and stick to it. This is the first and probably the most important tip. Always have a list! Take time once a week to plan your meals. Check your pantry and make a list of what you need to buy. Sticking to your list has several benefits. You don’t buy more than you need, you’ll avoid food waste, especially when it comes to fresh produce and you won’t go over your budget. Don't buy those "just in case" products. Remember, if it's not in your house you wouldn't eat it.

  2. Eat before you shop. This is a big one. Shopping when you’re hungry is the same as going to an all-you-can-eat buffet. Everything looks good and you want to try it all. You'll buy more than you need and probably end up making poor choices. You don’t make good decisions when you’re hungry. Eat before you go grocery shopping, even a small snack. A banana and a handful of nuts is a quick, nutritious snack. Supermarkets are set up to entice you with aromas and free samples, if you're hungry you're most likely to buy whatever is ready-made and this isn't in most cases, the healthy option.

  3. Shop the peripheral aisles. The middle aisles are where all the processed and packaged foods live. These are precisely the products you want to avoid. The majority of all processed food is full of sugar, unhealthy fats, and chemicals, even the products labeled “healthy.”

  4. Learn to read labels. This is crucial! Did you know that there is little regulation on how a company chooses to advertise their products? Words like "natural" or "healthy", don’t really mean anything. Even "gluten-free" and "vegan" products can be unhealthy. If the product you are buying has more than three ingredients, you can't pronounce them or easily identify what those ingredients are, don't buy it. Load up on single ingredient products: apples, spinach, eggs, tomatoes, beans, fish, beans, oats, etc... Purchase whole food products. These products have no or little packaging, no labels, and no advertising. You'll have no doubt what's in your food. 

Even though research suggests the opposite I prefer to shop the produce section first. I first fill my cart with fresh fruit, leafy greens, and vegetables. Next, I purchase dry goods: rice, quinoa, beans, oats, etc.  Lastly, I visit the meat section. By then, my cart is full. 

Did you find these tips helpful? What other supermarket tips do you follow?

Happy Shopping!


Carolyn YoungComment