Grocery Store Tips for Buying the Healthiest Foods for Your Family

It’s that time again. Time to restock the pantry and the fridge. But what can you do to make sure that you’re buying the healthiest foods for your family without spending a fortune? Have a plan ready so that you don’t succumb to the temptations lurking on every end cap or display case. The following tips, along with your own supermarket savvy, can help you get your strategy set.

  • Use the grocery store’s weekly advertisement and your coupons, if using them, to make your list. This way, you’ll be less tempted to stray from your list to buy unnecessary items.  And you’ll be able to plan meals around store specials while making your list.
  • Brush up on food label reading so that you are able to compare products, such as several varieties of cereal, to find the healthiest in your budget. Sticking to foods with the least number of ingredients and ingredients you recognize and can pronounce is usually a more healthy choice.   
  • Shop the perimeter, or outer areas, of the store first, where you’ll find the most whole and fresh foods.
  • Plan to buy fresh produce in a variety of colors. Why? That color variety (dark green, orange, and red) represents a variety of nutrients needed for your good health. Also, buy seasonal fruits and vegetables to save money. Another tip is to buy local produce to support your community and get fresh, seasonal, and often tasty fruits and vegetables.
  • Dairy and eggs should be located on the perimeter too, as well as meats and seafood. 
    • Skim or reduced fat dairy is excellent for bone health and has other benefits too.If you are looking for milk alternatives, some will be located in the refrigerator area with the milk, and other shelf stable varieties will be located on your grocer’s aisles.
    • Eggs are an excellent source of protein and other nutrients. 
    • Look for lower fat cuts of poultry, beef and pork. Remember that you can have a nutritious meal without including meat, but if you do include lower fat meat in your diet, sometimes buying in bulk (then portioning and freezing) is your best bet for saving money. Look for fresh salmon and other seafood in this area too. 
  • Stock up on frozen vegetables (without sauces) and fruit for when you don’t have fresh or for when you want frozen fruit to add to a smoothie. Did you know that frozen vegetables can have more nutrients than fresh in some instances? 

Also, frozen produce can be cheaper than out of season fresh produce.

  • Other frozen items that you may want to check out are frozen wild caught salmon and frozen meats to have on hand for dinner. 
  • Dry beans are inexpensive, are packed with nutrients, and are easy to prepare. Also, a bag of beans goes a long way when feeding a family.
  • Nut butters are a staple to have on hand when you feel like a non-cook dinner or for school lunches. Unsalted nuts are great for snacks, added to lunches, added to salads-there are just so many uses for them, and they contain healthy fats, protein, and fiber. Again, a variety is best. Look for walnuts, almonds, macadamia nuts, etc.
  • Need some canned or dried items? Look for canned beans, vegetables with no added sodium, and fruits packed in their own juices. For tuna, choose the cans or packages with tuna packed in water. If buying dried fruit, find those that don’t have added sugar.
  • When buying breads and cereals, look for those that are whole wheat to get the most nutrients and fiber from your grains. Also, buying whole wheat pasta, brown rice, and other whole grains, such as oats, quinoa, et cetera, is best for a healthy kitchen.
  • Other staples for a healthy kitchen? Look for dried herbs, vinegars, oils (olive, coconut, etc.), honey or other sweetening alternatives for smoothies or baking,
  • If you have to have cookies, soda, or other items that don’t provide much nutritional value, save those aisles for last when you have less room in your shopping cart. You’ll be less tempted to stock up on a 12 pack of soda or boxes of prepackaged cookies if you’d have to squash your produce or eggs to fit them into the cart.

These bits of supermarket wisdom, combined with your family’s preferences, should pave the way to finding healthy foods for good eating.

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