6 Tips to Grocery Shop for a Healthy Meal

October 15, 2015

A key step to staying healthy or starting new healthy habits is learning how to buy the right foods at the store. With so many options, choosing healthy foods can be overwhelming but we’re making it simple with these five quick tips to pack your kitchen with nutritious options. Healthy eating plays a critical role in cancer prevention. “You are what you eat.” What you put into your body affects your energy level and overall health. To learn more about healthy eating and cancer prevention, visit preventcancer.org. Get ready to shop for your next meal with these health conscious tips.

  1. Shop on the Perimeter of the Store: Most of the healthy and fresh ingredients can be found on the perimeter of the store. Stay away from middle aisles and the end of the aisels – called endcaps. Food on the ends are put there deliberately to entice you to purchase it. Additionally, if you find yourself in the middle aisels look at the top and bottom, the least healthy food normally is at eye level.
  2. Shop Local: While shopping for your groceries, look for fresh and local produce. Often it is less expensive to buy local since it does not have to be shipped and the produce will be the freshest available. Shop on delivery day. Ask your grocer when the store receives produce. Produce loses nutrients and flavor the longer they sit out.
  3. Add More Veggies: An easy way to eat healthier and add more nutrients to your meal is to eat more vegetables. You think you might be eating enough vegetables, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that less than 9 percent of American adults eat enough vegetables. For lunch and dinner it is recommended you eat about 1 ½ cups of vegetables at each meal. But just enough for the week so you don’t have to throw uneaten veggies away.
  4. Skip the Red Meat: Eating too much red meat can increase your risk of cancer, same goes for processed meats like ham, bacon, sausage and hot dogs. Choose fish, poultry or beans instead of beef, pork or lamb. When you are shopping for meats in the grocery store look for lean cuts and small portions (you should be filling your plate with lots of vegetables instead of meats).
  5. Choose a Healthy Grain/Pasta: Challenge yourself to try cooking a new grain or whole wheat pasta. Pasta made with refined flour does not have the same nutrients as whole wheat pasta. Quinoa is popular pasta alternative because it’s tasty and easy to cook. Also switch to brown rice, it has more flavor and is healthier than most other rice varieties.
  6. Keep Your Plate Colorful: Add a variety of vegetables to your meal that are rich in color. Each vegetable offers a different array of nutrients. Try to include as many dark leafy greens in your diet as possible, these are nutrient dense vegetables. Don’t eat the same vegetables every night, rotate through a variety of vegetables all week.

The key to creating sustainable healthy eating habits is to make changes slowly. Incorporate one of these tips every time you shop and before you know it you will be on your way to creating healthy, tasty meals. For recipe ideas and more healthy living tips, check out our other blogs here.

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