5 Helpful Tips When Going to the Grocery Store
Whether you’re expecting or already toting a little one around; when you cruise the grocery store aisles, it’s important to remember a few nutrition basics.
Read the ingredients list. Foods that have the nutrition facts panel also provide the ingredients list. Organized by order of weight, this list will help you determine whether a food product is nutritious enough to be placed in your shopping cart. If you shun trans fat—and everyone should—then you want to avoid foods with the word hydrogenated in them. If you try to limit your consumption of sugars, make sure that sugar—in one of its many forms—is not listed as one of the first three ingredients. Examine your bread and make sure that whole grain is listed as the first ingredient.
Shop the perimeter aisles for the majority of your food. Many of the foods that comprise a healthy diet are positioned along the outer aisles. (Fresh fruits and vegetables, seafood, dairy products, and bread are examples.) Obviously, if you prefer alternative dairy products or protein from plants instead of animals, you may need to make a dash into the center aisles. Just try not to wander the inner aisles aimlessly—unless you’re prepared to deviate from your grocery list (see below).
Buy organic. Organic has gone mainstream—and for good reasons. Organic food has been produced without the use of conventional pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge or irradiation. Although organic food may cost you more than commercially grown food, by supporting organic farmers you are lessening your impact on the environment and ingesting fewer toxic metals.
Make a grocery list and stick to it. To be even more effective, make the grocery list in your kitchen—as opposed to scribbling in your car on the back of a receipt—so you can check what you already have available. (I write from personal experience because I have four jars of spaghetti sauce in my pantry.) It should come as no surprise that food marketers invest a lot of money promoting their products. Be strong! Resist the temptation to buy the highly processed non-nutritious foods.
Bring your own reusable bags. OK, so this doesn’t have much to do with nutrition, but the production of plastic and paper bags is wasteful.