Shopping and eating healthy is so important, yet it can be difficult to discern the healthy from the unhealthy when we're roaming the grocery store, maybe juggling kids or crowds. But taking the time to make healthier decisions when we're in the store can really make it much easier to commit to healthier eating habits at home. There are a few basic things that every healthy shopper should know before they head to the store and whether you're going on a massive monthly grocery shopping trip or just need to pick up a few quick things, these tips can help to keep you on a healthy track.
Fruits and Veggies
When choosing fruits and vegetables for purchase, many shoppers tend to stick with a few basics that we probably all know, like apples, bananas, and grapes; but there's so much more variety available to try. By selecting different varieties of fruits and vegetables, you can not only brighten your menu, but get a variety of different vitamins and nutrients. Eating seasonally is also a great way of getting the freshest fruits and vegetables available because they are just that: fresh.
Put down the canned vegetables and fruits and stick with the fresh. Canned fruits may be packaged in water, but they may also be packaged in syrup; not a healthy option. Vegetables, too, may be canned with added salt. There's certainly value in having canned fruits and vegetables on hand, but if a fresh option is available, it's the healthier way to go. And while organic is nice, it's not always within our grocery budgets; make the healthiest choices you can without breaking the bank; if you can't swing organic vegetables, don't sweat it, just make sure you're getting a colorful variety that has many different key nutrients. So fill your grocery bags with the right choice for a healthier lifestyle!
- Eat Plenty of Fruits and Vegetables
- Fresh Ideas for Fresh Vegetables (PDF)
- Heart Healthy Foods: Shopping List
- Selecting and Serving Produce Safely
- How to Use Fruits and Vegetables to Help Manage Your Weight
Meat and Fish
Lean meats and fish are available and much healthier than their fattier counterparts. When you visit your local butcher, opt for leaner cuts and varieties, like chicken breast and turkey. Ground turkey is a common substitute for ground beef and, with less fat, is a healthier option many may not even notice. Try ground turkey in your next taco night or burger. If you do choose to purchase ground beef, opt for beef that has a lesser percentage of fat. The fat content can be found on the packaging and is listed as a percentage. For example, product listed as 80% ground beef contains 20% fat; the higher the percentage of beef, the lower the fat content. When visiting the seafood section or fishmonger, you can also opt for healthy filets over those with a higher fat content. Tuna and salmon are both very healthy options and are great sources of Omega-3 fatty acids.
- Choose Lean Proteins
- Quick Tips to Choosing Lean Meats and Proteins
- Ground Beef Calculator
- Overall Healthy Shopping List (PDF)
- Lean Meat is Good to Eat
- Go Lean with Protein! (PDF)
- Choose Lean Sources of Protein
Dairy is an important part of a healthy diet and needed in order to make sure that our bones grow strong and maintain that strength through age. Fat free dairy options are everywhere now, as healthy eating advocates emphasize the importance of calcium and the recommended amounts of vitamins commonly associated with dairy, including vitamins A and D. Aside from fat free dairy options, there are also some easy substitutions you can make to cut back on fattier dairy staples. For example, plain, fat free Greek yogurt is a good substitute for sour cream as a side or in recipes. Opting for egg whites, rather than whole eggs is an easy way to cut back cholesterol and calories.
- Benefits of Choosing Dairy
- Choosing Fat Free or Low Fat Dairy
- 5 Tips for Buying Safe and Healthy Dairy
- Dairy Myth Busters
- Dairy: The Ultimate Calcium Source (PDF)
Bread and Grains
Curbing our love for carbohydrates can be challenging, but instead of cutting them out completely, there are a few healthy guidelines that you can adhere to make your carb-heavy dishes a bit healthier. Whole wheat pasta and bread products are a good place to start. Swap out that over-processed white Wonder bread for a whole grain option. "Thins" have also become popular items in the grocery store; they are basically thinner slices of bread, so one consumes less without feeling like they're sacrificing their satisfaction. For those who are serious about cutting back on the carbs, limiting your pasta intake to once a week is an option; you can still enjoy your pastas and breads, but moderation is key.