Don’t let grocery shopping get you down. By coming to the store prepared, you are more likely to have a successful trip.
Use the tips below to help jump-start your next grocery run:
- Stick to the outer isles of the store first; this is where fresh foods like veggies, fruits, and lean meats usually reside. Save the center of the store for last or avoid it all together - this is where pre-packaged and processed foods are mostly stored.
- Come prepared. Create your list ahead of time to help guide you as you shop and avoid purchasing less healthy items. Search for items that meet our nutritional requirements for a heart-healthy food.
- Be flexible with the produce section. Look for produce that’s in season – TIP: You may be able to tell by looking at the price because food items in season are usually cheaper (and taste better too!) so do a little exploring before you start stocking your cart.
- Don’t shop on an empty stomach - this can lead to impulsive purchases out of hunger.
- When buying canned fish or lean meat, look for items packaged “in water” and not oil, and labeled no salt added or lower sodium (lean meats are those with less than 10g total fat per 100g serving of meat).
- Buying canned or frozen fruits and veggies helps avoid food spoilage, which can waste money and food. When buying canned veggies, buy items that are labeled “sodium free ” or “no salt added”. Buy frozen veggies without sauces, seasonings or salt. Before cooking or serving canned veggies, rinse them off to get rid of excess sodium. When buying canned fruits, look for items canned in “water ,” “100% pure fruit juice,” “natural juice,” or labeled as “no sugar added.” Buy frozen fruit without added syrups, sweeteners or sugar. Remember to look for these labels on canned goods too: “light,” “salt free ,” “high fiber,” “made with lean meat,” “low sodium.” Get more tips on how to eat more fruits and vegetables.
- Look for the grains. When buying grains and breads look for items that list “whole grain” in the ingredients instead of “enriched flour” or “multi-grain.” Learn more about whole grains.
- Divide the snacks. When you get home from the store, portion out your snack foods into individual serving sizes in snack baggies. This will save you time in the future, help you avoid overeating, and may be cheaper than buying snacks that are already pre-portioned into individual packs.
- Use the "Apple Test" when hunger strikes. Before you reach for a snack ask yourself “Am I hungry enough that I would eat an apple?” If you answer “yes,” then you are probably physically hungry, so grab a healthy snack! If you answer “no,” but you would eat maybe a cookie, then you are probably bored or thirsty, so go for a walk and drink a bottle of water.