Shopping for healthy foods

Shopping for healthy foods

Shopping for healthy foods could be challenging when doing your grocery. Here are some tips that could guide you through the process. In the end, you would have increased your ability to identify healthy foods and improve self-efficacy in making healthy choices of foods.

Make a list of your grocery

Make a list of all the items you want to purchase ahead of your grocery shopping. Make your list under the food group category to ensure you are not omitting any food group. The groups include starchy foods, milk and milk products, fruits and vegetables, beans and legumes, lean meat, fish, and chicken, fats and oils, as well as spices. Ensure you stick to your list at the store.

Start shopping from the periphery of the grocery store

It is at the periphery or entrance of the stores that you will find the most healthful, freshest, least-processed foods. Look for products such as fish, lean meat, low-fat dairy, and bread sections in the store. Always avoid the enticements in the aisles for snacks or the delis such as cakes, pastries, chips, sodas, and other packaged and highly processed foods. Fill your shopping trolley or basket with healthy choices of foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean meats. After you’ve shopped the outer border of the store, follow your list to search the rest of the store aisles. Look above and below the center shelves for the most healthful choices.

Avoid shopping for groceries with an empty stomach

If you go shopping with an empty stomach (i.e., when you are hungry), everything will look good, especially those quick, easy-to-eat snacks. If you are hungry, have a healthful snack or meal before you proceed to your shopping. This way you will easily overcome the temptation to fill your cart with impulsive items which may not be healthful choices.

Get yourself organised

It is advisable to do your menu planning for a week at a time. Also, endeavour to do your grocery shopping on the same day of each week. A simple routine will eliminate the need for midweek trips to the store. Frequent and unnecessary trips to the shop make you fall into the temptation of buying food that is not on your list.

Compare the nutrients in packaged foods

You must ask yourself what nutrients are most important to you and your family at any point in time. This will guide you in selecting the types of foods you need. It could be to increase soluble fiber, healthful fat certain vitamins, and minerals. The sure way to get the right foods that meet your desired nutrients is to read the labels. Furthermore, you will be able to make better decisions by comparing labels of several food items. If you’re trying to lose weight, for example, pay attention to calories and the serving size listed. Also, try to avoid foods whose fat comes from trans fats or saturated fat. You may want to check the “Practical guide to sustainable weight loss

Become knowledgeable in the reading label

Healthy choices of foods like fruits and vegetables usually don’t have nutrition labels on them. It is packaged foods that do have labels. Reading the labels is your sure guide to choosing healthy choices of foods. By reading the labels, you can tell whether one breakfast cereal, for example, is better than another? Compare them by checking the Nutrition Facts on the food label. The major nutrients are listed first and they are usually given per 100 grams or per serving of the food. For example, if a snack pack has 980 mg of sodium per 100 gm, and 1 package contains 150 gm which you can typically finish as a mid-day snack. This means you will be having 1470 mg of sodium from the snack alone. This is not right for you especially if you are working at reducing sodium intake. Experts recommend an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 mg per day for most adults, especially for those living with high blood pressure. Due to this knowledge, you can decide to check for another snack with much lower salt.

Take advantage of the farmers market

Doing your groceries at the farmers market helps to to take advantage of fresh produce. You not only have the benefit of reasonable prices but you will have the benefit of a wide range of foods that are in season.

Checklists when shopping for healthy foods

A rule of thumb is to let your nutrient needs guide your food choices as follows:

  • Your need for vegetables and fruit. Ensure you cover varieties such as dark green, red, and orange vegetables.
  • Your need for eating at least half of all grains as whole grains, by replacing refined grains with whole grains.
  • Your need to increase the intake of fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, including milk, yogurt, cheese, or fortified soy beverages.
  • Your need for a variety of protein foods, such as seafood, lean meat and poultry, seafood, eggs, beans and peas, soy products, and unsalted nuts and seeds.
  • Your need to replace solid fats with oils as much as possible.
  • Your need to reduce the intake of salt and foods high in salt.
  • Your need to reduce the intake of sugar and foods high in sugar.
  • Your need to reduce or avoid the intake of trans-fats, which are in processed foods high in fats.

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