Healthier Grocery Shopping

Walking around grocery store with a cart and list, next to produce section

The grocery store can sometimes be an overwhelming place. Without a list and a shopping strategy, you may end up self-sabotaging your healthy eating goals. Try these tips for how to walk around and make selections from your grocer’s market for better-for-you choices.   

1. Make a list and stick to it.  Before going to the grocery store, make a list of the items you need and a few want items that you can look for to see if they are on sale. Having that list and sticking to it will keep you from buying unnecessary and unhealthy foods.

2. Choose more foods from the outer perimeter and less from inside aisles. Most grocery stores have the fresh and cold food selections located in the outer perimeter of the store. This is typically where you will find fruits and other produce, dairy items and frozen foods. Certain aisles are known for having sweets and processed foods. Avoid those aisles when you can or visit them only for special events.  

3. Frozen and canned are OK.  If you don’t find the fresh produce you need because the store ran out or it’s not in season, check the frozen and canned food sections. Read the ingredients carefully to be sure that the contents are just the vegetable or fruit with no or very little additives. For canned items, choose no salt or no sugar added.   

4. Buy in bulk.
When you have the room in your pantry or find a good sale, consider stocking up on items. Beans, nuts and oats are common dry goods to keep in bulk. They can be added to most meals for more dietary fiber. If you have room in your freezer, keep extra frozen vegetables, meat and seafood whenever a buy one, get one free or half-off sale arises.   

5. Don’t go shopping hungry.
Before you visit the grocery, make sure you’ve had a meal or snack within the last two hours. Going to the store hungry can often lead to impulse buys, unwanted items and unhealthy calories. If you arrive and realize that you need to refuel, purchase a granola bar or banana from the fresh foods item first. Eat it while going over your list so you’re not hangry (hungry and angry combined) while you’re walking around.

We hope these shopping tips will help you make healthy choices. The goal is to leave the store with the items you need and won’t feel guilty over purchasing.