Healthily Navigate the Grocery Store

Created by: Kristen Carli, Dietetic Intern

Grocery stores are designed to make us purchase more food. Every aisle is capped with flashy displays and discounted products. It’s very easy to end up with more food, often unhealthy options, that you didn’t plan on buying. Here are some tips to healthily navigate the grocery store. 

  1. Shop the Perimeter

Safely avoid junk food by shopping the perimeter of the store. The perimeters generally contain the produce, meat, bakery and dairy aisles. Stock up on these “real food” options. All the aisles in the middle stock the foods you likely want to avoid: chips, cookies, baked goods, and other processed foods.
2. Make a List

Plan out your meals and snacks for the week before you shop. Use this plan as a guide to create your grocery list. Once your list is made, stick to it. Don’t allow yourself to purchase items that are not on your list.
3. Don’t Shop Hungry

When we are hungry, we are more prone to overshop and make unhealthy decisions. Try to have a nourishing snack before you head to the store to keep hunger at bay. Make sure it is balanced by combining a source of protein or fat with a source of carbohydrate, such as bell peppers and hummus or apples and peanut butter.
4. Take Advantage of Seasonal Produce

Check out the produce section for seasonal fruits and vegetables. Seasonal produce is often much cheaper than non-seasonal produce. It also packs more nutrition because it is often local, meaning it does not have to travel very far.

Material adapted from eatright.org

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