Shop Wise = Eat Healthy


We all start out with the best of intentions, don’t we?  Perhaps a New Year’s Resolution or an upcoming event where we want to look our best has prompted us to commit to eating more healthy.  But even if you manage to withstand the lure of fast food, there is still a danger that you will resort to unhealthy choices when you go to the grocery store.  We get busy and end up choosing whatever looks good when we’re on the way home from a long day at work–maybe some macaroni and cheese or a frozen pizza–just because they are easy and taste good.

The real key to eating healthy lies in knowing how to shop.  Sure it requires a little thought and preparation, but in the long run you’ll save yourself much time and money–and find yourself losing weight and feeling better.

1.  Avoid Pre-packaged Foods

Whenever possible, buy fresh foods.  Any food that is prepared is going to be high in sodium, contain artificial presevatives, and not taste nearly as good as something you’ve made from quality, fresh ingredients.  Sure they are convenient, and everyone has to rely on a frozen dinner once in a while; but the majority of your groceries should be uncooked, unfrozen, and as close to nature as possible

2.  Use a List

The quickest way to end up with a bunch of junk is to go into the store without an agenda.  Grocery stores are set up to get you to buy certain items.  The displays, in-store coupons, and other marketing techniques will override your good judgement unless you take ten minutes to make a quick list and then resolve to stick to it.  When you make your list, try to think ahead and make a quick meal plan.  Will you take a salad to lunch every day this week?  If so, be sure you have everything on your list that you need to make it happen.  You’ll feel more at ease when you know you have everything you need to eat healthy already waiting for you at home.

3.  Buy Frozen Produce When You Can’t Get Fresh

Fresh is always best, but frozen is an excellent alternative if you can’t get the produce you need in season.  If you drink smoothies for breakfast, you’ll want to have frozen berries or pineapple even in the dead of winter.  Canned produce contains a lot of sodium and/or sugar.  And it has less nutritional value because of the way it is processed.  You can also keep frozen foods for a lot longer, so if you love a quick stir fry for dinner, stock up on a stir fry veggie mix and make eating healthy that much simpler.

4.  Buy Organics

Organic foods are grown without harmful chemicals and pesticides.  They are not genetically modified from their natural form.  They are grown in smaller quantities and contain high levels of nutrition.  If at all possible, buy organic produce.  There are many other organic options for shoppers besides fresh foods–and you can also benefit by enjoying everything from organic olive oil to organic cheese.

5.  Don’t Shop When Hungry/Tired/Stressed

This might be hard to avoid, but really, it is so much better to shop when you feel at your peak.  If you’re hungry, you’ll end up buy junk you don’t want just because it sounds good at the moment.  If you’re tired or stressed, you’ll rush through the store and not pay close attention to your selections.  Or you’ll just pick whatever is fast and easy.  Try to shop when you’re feeling fresh and can take your time to pick your food wisely.

6.  Spend Time Doing Prep

If you spend an hour after you get home from the store washing and preparing your food, you can literally save yourself time the entire week.  Worried about not having enough quick snacks?  Cut up a tray of veggies and keep it under wraps in the fridge where you can get to it anytime.  Portion out your meat into small bags so you can quickly defrost just what you need after work.  Make your own version of “fast food” at home–stuff you can quickly get to and use for healthy and delicious meals and snacks.

7.  Read Your Labels

Not all food is created equal, and you can’t rely on marketing to help you choose what really is “natural” and “healthy”.  Compare labels of products you buy to make sure you’re not buying food that contains a lot of hidden fat, sugar, sodium or preservatives.

8.  Buy In Bulk

If you have certain things you know you’re going to use, it only makes sense to buy bulk.  Not only is it cost-effective, but it’s going to save you from making repeated trips to the store.  Some items like pasta, rice, and granola are going to last for weeks.  Why not stock up on them and have them handy?  Joining a bulk shopping club is one way, or looking for excellent coupons which let you purchase large quantities of certain items at your regular store is another.

True, it may take a little more time to shop, but overall you’ll spend a lot less time worrying about what to eat.  You’ll save hundreds of dollars every month eating out.  And you’ll have complete control over what you’re taking in to your body.  There’s just no subsitute for wise shopping when you want to eat well.


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