Five Tips for Smart Shopping
- Start at the perimeter of the grocery store. That’s where you’ll find the most healthful, freshest, least-processed options. Try to shop the produce, fish, lean meat, low-fat dairy and bread sections of the store as much as possible to avoid the temptations lurking in the aisles containing snack cakes, chips, sodas and other packaged and processed foods. Concentrate on filling your basket with healthful fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean protein.
- Don’t shop on an empty stomach. We all know what happens when you go to the grocery store when your stomach is rumbling! Everything looks good, especially those quick, easy-to-eat snacks. Try to have a healthy snack or even a meal before going to the store. You’ll be less tempted to fill your cart with impulse items.
- Get organized. Make a list of foods you need before you leave the house. Do your menu planning for a week at a time and do your grocery shopping on the same day of each week. A simple routine eliminates the need for midweek trips to the store, which may tempt you to buy food that’s not on your list.
- Become a comparison shopper. Decide what’s most important to you when selecting foods, whether it’s sodium, fiber, sugar, calories or healthful fat. Use the labels to find those options. You probably won’t find the perfect food, but you will make better decisions by comparing labels.
- Become label-savvy. Most of the truly healthful foods like fruits and vegetables don’t have nutrition labels on them. Packaged foods, on the other hand, do, and reading the label is your best guide to choosing the most healthful options. How can you tell whether one breakfast cereal, for example, is better than another? Compare them by checking the Nutrition Facts panel.