By Rachel Wyman
Clinical Nutrition Educator
Ever wonder how to shop for healthy food without spending hours in the grocery store or how to prepare flavorful healthy food your family will want to eat? Our tips will help with both.
- Select leaner protein options – For meats, choose the highest percent lean you can find, and look for “loin” or “round” cuts. Consider grass-fed and game meats. Experiment with plant-based protein options such as tofu, tempeh, lentils and beans.
- Choose whole grains – Look for the Whole Grain Stamp. A good product has at least 50 percent of the grain ingredients as whole grain. Products with 100 percent whole grain are best.
- Focus on more whole foods – Buy more foods that do not have a nutritional label. You’ll automatically cut down on added sugars, fats, sodium and preservatives.
- Eat seasonally – Seasonal produce can be much more affordable and flavorful. For ideas on what is in season in your area, check out sustainabletable.org.
- Have a plan – Each week, map out every meal. Identify what you already have, and limit your grocery list to only necessary items that fit in your plan.
- Hydrate with zero calories – Water truly is the world’s perfect beverage. Skip the added calories and sugar.
- Read the ingredients list – Are those “veggie chips” REALLY a way to eat more quality vegetables? Or are the first three ingredients potato flour, potato starch and corn starch?
- Add flavor with less fat – Try more fresh or dried herbs, spices, vinegars and citrus to enhance the flavor of lean proteins and vegetables.
- Check unit prices – To get the most value, when comparing different brands or container sizes of an item, choose the item with the lower orange sticker price per unit.
- Consider the freezer aisle – Frozen vegetables and fruits can be comparable, if not better, in nutritional value compared to fresh produce, and often much less expensive. They are also time-savers – already washed and chopped!
- Get to know your grocery store well – Check out the customer service desk and talk with the shift manager. Find out when the freshest produce is available, when the store is the least busy, when new sales come out, and sign up for a store card or email newsletter (when available), and find out their policies on coupons and price matching.
- Never shop when you are tired, hungry or rushed – For the best decision-making, time your grocery trips after a meal or snack, ideally during nonpeak shopping hours and when you feel more alert.
Rachel Wyman, RD, is Clinical Nutrition Educator at Mission Weight Management.