The key to eating healthy starts with the source of your food, but navigating the grocery store can be challenging with so many competing options and every label claiming to have less fat, more protein, whole grains, etc. My goal is to help you keep things as simple as possible. If you’re going to the grocery store instead of eating out, where you don’t have complete control over what’s in your food, then you’re taking the most important first step. I want to help ensure that you are making the most beneficial choices for your body, and getting the most nutrient-dense bang for your buck! These are my top 5 simple tips for how to shop healthy:
1 – Shop around the perimeter of the store
This is not a new rule on the list of how to shop. However, I feel it is the most important of all the tips. It is the easiest rule to remember, and it won’t steer you wrong as you begin to learn how to shop healthier. The perimeter houses the produce and whole foods. The center aisles house approximately 20,000 processed canned, frozen and boxed items that shouldn’t be considered Real Food. Stick to foods that have five or fewer ingredients.
2 – Create a weekly menu, make a shopping list, and stick to your list!
It’s easy to buy foods you don’t need, especially when you shop on an empty stomach. By planning a week’s meals ahead of time and creating a shopping list, you will determine exactly what you need for the week. Having a list makes it easy to stick to what you need and cut down on those extra “hidden” things you wish you didn’t buy. Just remember to stick to your list; don’t deviate! If you are looking for new healthy, simple recipes, you can find them in our DASH Diet Cookbook.
3 – Head to the Farmers Market
Luckily there are farmers markets popping up all over the country as more people are discovering the value in buying fresh, sustainable and local produce. A lot of times the produce is a lot cheaper than in the grocery store depending on where you live in the country and many of these farmers use organic growing methods, but just don’t have the money to get certified as organic. We highly recommend visiting your farmers market and getting to know your local farmers. You will find great deals on real food, especially if you visit the market towards the end of the day.
4 – Spend your money more wisely
Focus on more whole foods and less junk food. Although junk food cost less in some instances, you are getting less nutrients and no value. Sit down with your shopping receipts and take inventory of what you spent money on. Calculate how much you spend on processed junk food that has absolutely NO nutrient value such as soda, hotdogs, potato chips, etc. How much do you spend compared to nutrient-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, etc? If you think eating healthy is expensive, try validating purchases of food that don’t do anything for your body! Rollin’ in greens! Getting the most nutrition for my buck at the Oakland Farmer’s Market!
5 – Be Label-Savvy
Read the ingredient and nutrition labels on all food packages with a label. Clearly, your carrots and grapes don’t have a label. Avoid packaged food that contains more than five ingredients, or has words that you can’t pronounce. Lastly, avoid foods that make health claims. Many fake foods try to entice you with bogus health claims like low fat and sugar-free. Look at the ingredients carefully. A cereal might advertise one third less sugar, but that does not tell you how many grams of sugar are still in a serving. It also may not tell you if they substituted the real thing with a processed, fake substitute. Your body doesn’t digest fake food very well and those fake ingredients can lead to weight gain and chronic disease over time.
Filling your body with the right fuels has an incredible impact on your energy. Learn some of my other techniques for boosting your energy naturally with my “Top 10 Energy-Boosting Remedies” Guide. You can download it here free: