Grocery shopping that is! Have you ever wandered the aisles of the grocery store wondering what to select? Do you feel lost when trying to choose healthy meals and snacks? Have you ever left the store with more than you intended to buy? The grocery store can be quite the three ring circus entering the store, no list in hand, while on a mission to find dinner for three hungry mouths as the kids are piling food in the cart begging for that certain bag of chips.
On the other hand, some find enjoyment in browsing the aisles for the latest products, yet easily get caught up in the nutrition marketing of not-so-nutritional products. Buying groceries does not have to be a daunting task, so grab your cart and let’s go shopping! Here are some tips to help you make healthy and budget-friendly choices:
Fruits and Vegetables
- Choose brightly colored fruits and vegetables with a rainbow of color to ensure a variety of vitamins and minerals.
- Whole pieces of fruit are often less expensive than pre-cut fruit.
- Try something new!
Meat, Poultry, Fish
- Choose extra lean ground beef (93% lean) for a high-quality source of protein, zinc, selenium, iron and B vitamins.
- A serving of meat is about 3 oz or about the size of a deck of cards.
- Removing the skin of poultry is a great way to limit excessive saturated fat and cholesterol.
- Aim to eat fish at least twice per week either baked or broiled for an excellent source of lean protein and B vitamins.
- Choose low fat milk, cream, cheese and yogurt to decrease fat and calorie intake.
- Low fat Greek yogurt is an excellent source of protein and a great way to add calcium as part of a balanced intake.
- String and stick cheeses make a great addition to lunch boxes or snacking on the run.
- When choosing butters or spreads, look for liquid vegetable oil as the first ingredient.
- Limit products that contain hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated fats in the ingredient list; these are sources of saturated and trans fats.
Breads and Grains
- Choose whole grain breads, bagels, muffins and buns.
- Strive to include breads that have at least 2-3 grams of fiber per slice and look for the terms 100% whole wheat flour or whole wheat flour as the first ingredient on the ingredient list.
- Choose cereals with less than 10 grams of sugar and more than 3 grams of fiber per serving to start the day off right.
- Switch to whole grain pasta, rice, couscous and try out quinoa for a change! Quinoa is a high protein grain and can be eaten in place of rice, added to soup, or served hot as a cereal with fruit and nuts.
By Meghan Windham, MPH, RD, LD