We all have intentions to eat healthy, right? So where do we fall off the tracks? In order to make healthy choices we need to make sure that we are surrounding ourselves with healthy food and are not inviting temptation into the kitchen in the first place. And that starts at the grocery store. If it’s not there, you won’t eat it. Simple.
Here are a few tips to help you better navigate the store and fill your cart with nutritious foods to set you up for success at home.
1. Don’t Shop Hungry
You have heard this before, but at the very least have a healthy snack (I pack dried fruit and nuts in my car at all times) before you shop. Grocery shopping with a growling belly will cripple your ability to make healthy decisions. Those donuts will look WAY too good!
2. Taste the Rainbow (and I don’t mean Skittles)
When it comes to decorating I am a bit allergic to colour, but my plate is a different story. Get as much colour from the produce section as you can in your cart. Variety is key! If you can’t afford organic, don’t let that deter you from buying produce. Remember that eating a diet rich in fruit and vegetables is the goal. I recommend filling half of your plate with vegetables and fruit, so make sure that your cart reflects this as well!
3. Live on the Edge
If you have ever zoomed out and examined a grocery store, you will notice that the whole, unprocessed foods line the periphery of the store, and the packaged processed foods are in the middle of the store. You can only guess where I’m going to tell you to steer your cart;). Fill your basket with these natural whole foods and keep the packaged foods that are full of salt, sugar and preservatives to a minimum.
4. Fresh or Frozen is Best
Contrary to popular belief, frozen vegetables and fruit are just as healthy as their fresh counterparts in most cases. Now, clearly we’re talking about the plain versions: those that have sauces or syrups packed with them are rarely good choices. Canned vegetables are more processed and have more sodium, so choose fresh or frozen first.
5. Start Reading
Nothing sexy about this: you need to read labels. Look for added sugar (every 4g of sugar = 1 teaspoon to put it in perspective), refined carbohydrates such as white flour, trans fats and preservatives. Keep in mind that the items in an ingredient list are listed according to quantity by weight with the highest at the top.
6. Those Who Fail to Plan…
Plan your meals for the week in advance and build your shopping list accordingly. Two things will happen. You will avoid a gazillion extra trips to the grocery store for ingredients that you don’t happen to have, and even better, you won’t be left scratching your head for a dinner solution and turning to unhealthy take out.
Photography by Sharla Pike & Jillian Harris