Shopping, in particular grocery shopping is one chore I actually look forward to every other week. I enjoy taking my kids out for a few hours to choose the foods we will be eating. They actually like to go to. With three pre-schoolers in tow, here are a few helpful, healthful tips to keep in mind.
1. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store. This is where you will find the fruits, veggies, meats, seafood, and dairy sections. These are the healthiest choices while the inside of the store contains those items that are less perishable in boxes, cans, jars, and bags. Think of if this way, chose items that will perish in days or weeks instead of years. It is scary to think of how long you can keep some items on your pantry shelf.
2. When choosing fruits and veggies, make a wide range of color selection. Think of eating all the colors in the rainbow. You can chose yellow summer squash, red tomatoes, purple cabbage, orange sweet peppers, blue berries, and green beans. Many grocery stores stock a wide range of fruits and veggies. Make it a habit to try one new variety each week. Often stores have a recipe card section to encourage shoppers to try something they offer.
3. Meats are my next stop around the store. The USDA now requires meats to list their fat content on the packaging. This makes choosing lean meats easier. But check out the difference for yourself. Pick up a package of hamburger containing 75% lean meat and one containing 90% lean meat. Turn the package over and notice how many calories you will be saving by using the 90% instead of the 75% per serving. It is huge. Do the same thing with ground turkey and ground turkey breast. This will shock some of you. But ground turkey is white, dark, skin, and other parts of the turkey ground up while ground turkey breast is only the white lean breast part of the turkey. Do I have to tell you which one has the fewer fat calories?
4. The Seafood department is another one of those unexplored areas of the store for most people. Eating seafood provides you with some very beneficial vitamins and minerals as well as some fantastic fatty acids our body’s crave. Deep Cold water seafood like Salmon, Flounder, Herring, and Tuna.
“The biggest problem in this country is that we eat too little fish, not too much, and overall everyone would benefit from increasing their fish consumption,” says Joyce Nettleton, an expert on omega-3 fatty acids. “We don’t have anything in the marketplace that has the potential to benefit health the way fatty fish do.”
5. Now, this is not to say that I never buy food in the aisles. I do, but I try to keep with the healthiest choices if possible – whole grain items, frozen vegetables without sauces, canned tuna and salmon, etc. While we are on the subject of whole grain, be very careful of labels that read whole grain on the front. Always, always turn the package over to read the nutrition label. Only on the nutrition label will you see the truth. Choose items that are higher than 3 grams of fiber and less than 10 grams of sugar. Higher fiber and less sugar is the rule to keep in mind. There are better choices than others so don’t be fooled. Choosing the healthiest bread or cereal for your family will take some doing the first time out but after that you can avoid all the choices and just pick the ones you have already found to be high fiber and low sugar options.
There are so many options in a super market. It can be an overwhelming chore to make the healthiest choices for you and your family. Stick to these rules and you’ll be on your way to easier healthy eating.
Don’t make it a chore – Make It Fun!