Smart Grocery Shopping: Stay Healthy and Save Money with These Expert Tips!

Grocery shopping is one of those tasks we all tend to find to be overwhelming if we are trying to eat healthy all while staying on a budget. Wanting to buy foods that are good for us and for our families can be a challenge, especially when the marketing and the sales are usually directed to the more inexpensive processed foods. Here are some tips to help you stay on track:

Don’t shop hungry

Be sure to eat a balanced meal or snack before you head out. This is especially important if you are planning on shopping on your way home from work. Pack an extra snack to eat at the end of the day or in the car ride on the way to the store. If you do find yourself at the store without having eaten anything, then head to the produce section and pick up some precut veggies to nibble on or eat a slice or two of oven roasted turkey from some that you may be purchasing at the deli.

Have a plan

Before heading out be sure to have a list of the foods you need ( take stock of your refrigerator, freezer and pantry) and have a meal plan of dinner ideas so you know what proteins to buy. Try to plan your meals around a healthy lean protein and then balance them out with veggies and a healthy starch. Look up recipes you are planning on making and put together a list of any needed ingredients. This way you are sticking to what you need and not mindlessly buying foods that you will not be using and ultimately throwing away. Supermarkets and food manufacturers know how to market foods to people who are hungry and shop without a plan or a list.

Shop the perimeter of the store

Shop the perimeter first. This is typically where you will find fresh produce, as well as the meat, fish and dairy departments. The inner aisles are where you will find the more processed, packaged foods. If you do go down those aisles, it should be with a list in mind of ingredients you may need like olive oil or spices. Attempt to buy foods that have 5 ingredients or less. Try to follow this rule: if you can’t pronounce it, then don’t buy it and eat it.

Buy a rainbow of colors

Choose romaine, spinach or kale over iceberg lettuce. Pick up more more vibrant color fruits and vegetables like berries, red grapes, yellow and red peppers, carrots, and sweet potatoes over pale ones like white potatoes, bananas and celery. Colorful fruits and vegetables are higher in fiber and packed with many nutrients. Buy 100% whole grain bread and brown or wild rice and whole grain pastas and quinoa versus “enriched” wheat bread or white rice and regular pasta. These foods are higher in fiber and nutrients as well and will keep your blood sugar levels steadier and allow you to stay fuller longer.

Say goodbye to empty liquid carbs

Don’t put sugary drinks like soda, sports drinks, fruit cocktails and juices in your cart. These are all liquid carbs filled with sugar and empty calories. Try buying plain or flavored seltzers (be sure they don’t have artificial sweeteners or sodium)or add lemons, limes, berries, mint or cucumbers or any combination to water to make a flavorful water, or herbal teas to make a delicious unsweetened ice tea.

Grocery shopping can be challenging, but if you go in with a plan and stick to your list, you will not only buy the healthy foods you need, but in the end you will actually save money by not wasting money on foods that are not good for you or ultimately go to waste.

If you want to learn more about healthy meal planning and nutrition in general, book a free intro session with one of the nutrition coaches here at ResoluteFIT!

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