Ten Tips to Shop Healthy

They say you are what you eat so healthy eating is a must. And healthy eating starts with shopping healthy; shopping smart. So I put together a bunch of tips that you can keep in mind while buying groceries to make healthier food choices:

  1. Don’t shop hungry. There is research to show that we are more likely to reach for the sugary high carb foods when we’re feeling hungry. If you’re not hungry when you go grocery shopping, you are more likely to reach for the healthier foods.
  2. Carry a list. Ideally plan your meals in advance and make out a list based on what ingredients you will need. If you have a list of what you need, you are less likely to waste time and money.
  3. Buy at the farmer’s market. I have spoken before about why farmers markets are such a good idea. They help support local communities and make fresh, seasonal produce available to the consumer. 
  4. Go for variety. Step outside your comfort zone and try out fruit, veggies and whole grains that you haven’t tried before. Get your nutrition from a variety of sources and who knows; you may come to love those hitherto unfamiliar foods.
  5. Buy seasonal. If you buy as per the season you will eat stuff that hasn’t been artificially ripened or been transported over longer distances. So buying seasonal produce is healthy and pocket friendly too.
  6. Pick healthy cuts of meat. Avoid the sausages, the salami and the pepperoni. Rather, buy lean cuts of meat without the nitrates and preservatives.
  7. Less processed the better. This is a rule of thumb to follow while buying all food – the less processed your groceries are the better it is. Look for whole grains and foods and leave out the refined stuff.  
  8. Don’t get fooled by “natural” or “healthy” tags. Just because it says “healthy” or “natural” on the label don’t believe them. These are just marketing gimmicks and hooks.
  9. Avoid stuff with unpronounceable ingredients: Be a smart shopper by reading labels carefully. If there are too many ingredients including some unpronounceable ones, don’t buy it. More ingredients mean more additives such as preservatives, artificial colors and flavors.
  10. Fresher is better. Another rule of thumb to follow is to buy as fresh as possible. To the extent possible, avoid the cans, ready meals, and packaged foods. Salts, sugars and other additives go in and at least some of the nutrition goes out.
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