Don’t let grocery shopping get you down. By going to the store prepared with a healthy grocery list, you’re more likely to buy healthier foods, save some time and stick to your budget.
Here are 9 tips to make your next grocery run a home run:
- Come prepared. Plan menus and make your list ahead of time to stay focused as you shop and avoid purchasing less-healthy items you don’t need. This will help you eat smart AND stick to your budget!
- Shop the outer aisles of the store first; this is where fresh foods like veggies, fruits, whole grains, dairy, fish and lean meats usually reside. Then head to the center aisles for healthy staples like frozen fruits and vegetables, canned or dry beans, and instant oatmeal.
- Read Nutrition Facts labels, even for foods you think may be healthy. Ingredients and nutrient content can vary a lot. When there’s more than one choice, compare labels. Choose the item with the lowest amounts of sodium, saturated fat and added sugars. You can also search for products bearing the Heart-Check mark; they’re certified to meet our nutritional requirements for a heart-healthy food.
- Spend some time exploring the produce section. Look for produce that’s in season or on sale to save some money.
- Don’t shop on an empty stomach -- this can lead to impulsive purchases out of hunger.
- When buying canned fish, chicken or lean meat, look for items packaged in water instead of oil, and labeled no salt added or lower sodium. Get more tips on picking healthy proteins.
- Buying frozen or canned fruits and veggies helps avoid food waste. When buying canned veggies, look for items that are labeled no-salt-added or lower sodium. Buy frozen veggies without sauces, seasonings or salt. Before cooking or serving canned veggies or beans, drain and rinse them to get rid of excess sodium. When buying canned fruits, look for items canned in water, natural juice, or labeled as no sugar added. Buy frozen fruit without added sugars, syrups or sweeteners. Get more tips on buying fresh, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables.
- When buying grains and bread products look for items that list a whole grain first in the ingredients instead of enriched flour or “multi-grain.” Learn more about whole grains and fiber.
- Divide the snacks. When you get home from the store, portion out your snack foods into individual serving sizes in snack containers or baggies. This will save you time in the future, help you avoid overeating, and may be cheaper than buying individually packaged snacks.