Your Guide To Healthy Grocery Shopping

Your Guide To Healthy Grocery Shopping

Making sure your kitchen is well stocked with nutritious and healthy ingredients is one of the key steps to eating healthier.

So, to help you make smarter food choices, here are eight tips for healthy grocery shopping:

1. Don’t go to the store hungry. Shopping for groceries on an empty stomach will definitely lead you to purchase more food items than you need! As well as potentially cause you to make poor food choices.

2. Always make a list. If you don’t you may be tempted into buying foods that aren’t the best for your health. You could also forget about healthy foods you meant to purchase. Think about what you’re going to cook during the week, how much storage space you have to keep the food and what you already have in, then take it from there.

3. Focus on the produce section. Spend most of your time in the stores produce section. And if you can afford it, buy organic in order to avoid the ‘dirty dozen’. These are the fruits and vegetables that contain the highest amount of pesticide residue. In the UK, they include grapefruit, clementine’s, strawberries, pre-packed salad, grapes, lemons, peaches and nectarines, pears, spinach, chillies peppers, apples and blackberries and blueberries. If you choose to only buy some organic products then prioritise buying fruits and vegetables which have a skin that you eat, for example blueberries over a grapefruit. And always make sure to give vegetables a good wash!

4. Splurge on fresh produce. Seasonal fruits and veggies are not only the best tasting produce, but they are also cheaper and more nutritious, and the more colourful your produce, the greater variety of nutrients you’ll be getting. Make sure to freeze anything you don’t use, or better still turn it into a soup to enjoy later!

5. Stock up on nuts and seeds. Nuts and seeds are packed with nutrition and are quick to pop into or on top of meals you’ve already prepared, as well as making for speedy snack.

6. Start using canned foods. Canned fruits and vegetables are typically processed within hours after they are harvested. This means that the taste and nutrient loss is minimal. In fact, some canned or frozen foods are even more nutritious than their fresh counterparts, and can prove convenient and cost effective. Make sure to choose canned or frozen produce without anything added to it, so no sauces or seasonings.

7.Practice moderation. There is no reason why you shouldn’t occasionally enjoy the not-so-healthy foods you like. Instead of eliminating them from your diet altogether, be more mindful of your intake. For example, buy single-serving containers to avoid overindulging.

8. Read labels carefully. Food labels can often be difficult to understand, here are a few practical tips to keep in mind:

  • Try to stick with food items that have short and easy-to-understand nutrition labels.If there are too many ingredients to read, and words you can’t pronounce, it’s most likely not the healthiest choice. Especially the sugar alcohols such as sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, and maltitol which are found in shakes, bars, and low sugar or sugar-free items.
  • Check out the servings per item.
  • Learn to identify hidden sugar in your food.Sugar can be listed on the ingredients label in a lot of different ways. For example, it can be mentioned as corn syrup, concentrated fruit juice, honey, organic raw cane sugar, agave, rice malt syrup, glucose, coconut sugar, date sugar, black strapped molasses, barley malt extract, dextrose, fructose, and the list goes on!
  • Beware of misleading claims. Ignore what is written on the front and read the ingredients list on the back.  Terms like all-natural, organic, low-fat, cholesterol-free, gluten-free etc. None of these claims mean the product is healthy. For example, sugar is natural, fat-free and gluten-free. It can also be organic. But that doesn’t make it a healthy!
  • Watch out for nitrates in processed meat products. Studies suggest that the nitrates in processed meatsare linked to the risk of developing cancer. And don’t be fooled by brands advertising their meat products as ‘nitrate-free’ by using celery juice as a substitute. Celery has a very high concentration of natural nitrate. Treating the celery juice with a bacterial culture produces nitrates. The concentrated juice is then added to processed meats so manufacturers claim it has ‘no nitrates added’.

Remember, there is no one size fits all when it comes to nutrition. What works for one person may not work for another. So, if you would like to learn more or have any concerns about your diet then check out the clinic section of my website here to see if a nutrition consultation is for you.