Healthy eating starts with smart food
shopping. Here you will find pointers on how to make the most of your trip to
the grocery store. Whether you want to eat healthier or lose weight, these tips
will help you get started.
The key to grocery
shopping for healthy eating is to plan ahead. This may take some time at first,
but after a while it gets easier. You can also save your shopping lists to use
again, or you can keep a list of things you buy often, such as milk, bread, or
fruit. Planning ahead may even help you save time and money.
eating is also about setting realistic goals. Allow yourself to add something
special to your list, such as a favorite dessert or beverage. As long as you
have healthy portions and get regular exercise, it's okay to treat yourself now
Eat a meal or snack before you shop so you aren't hungry
at the store. This way you won't be as tempted to buy less healthy foods, such
as candy, chips, or fast food, to satisfy your hunger.
Good menu planning includes knowing how much time you
will have to prepare your meals.
If you have a limited amount of time to
prepare your meals, you will want to choose recipes that are quick and easy to
Continue to Why?
You may find that planning your meals and having a
variety of foods available will help you make healthier food choices more
often. It is easier to choose healthy foods when they are on hand and ready to
eat. This is why it helps to include healthy convenience foods on your shopping
list. Also, knowing that you have a quick and easy-to-make dinner at home may
help you overcome the urge to pick up fast food for dinner.
Including healthy convenience foods on your shopping
list is a good way to make sure that you have healthy, ready-to-eat meals and
snacks at home.
Including healthy convenience foods on your
shopping list is a good way to make sure that you have healthy, ready-to-eat
foods at home. It may also help you avoid the temptation to eat foods that are
not as good for you.
Continue to How?
Use the shopping list
you created from your menu plan. You may notice that most of the items on the
outer aisles of the store are fresh foods, such as meat, produce, and dairy.
These items tend to be less processed compared to some of the foods in the
center aisles, such as packaged cookies, chips, or soda. As you shop, pay
attention to how much you buy from the outer aisles compared to the inner
aisles where the processed foods are.
When you are selecting items from your list, try to
choose foods lower in fat, calories, and/or sodium if possible. For example,
when you buy sandwich meat, remember that plain roast turkey or roast beef has
much less fat and sodium than processed lunch meat. You can also buy fat-free
or low-fat dairy items, such as milk, yogurt, and cheese.
limit drinks with added sugar, such as soda and sweetened iced tea. Instead,
try to drink more water or buy sugar-free drinks or drinks with little or no
Include some healthy convenience foods on your
shopping list for both meals and snacks. These are great to have on hand if you
are busy or don't like to cook. You may want to try:
buy just what's on your shopping list as much as possible. Sale items may seem
like a good bargain. But if you weren't planning on buying them in the first
place, they may not be a good deal.
Portion size is also an
important part of healthy eating. Whether you are shopping for yourself or a
family, you can buy certain things in bulk. For example, if you buy a large
"family pack" of chicken, you can divide it into single-meal portions and
freeze them. This is a good way to control how much you eat at each meal and
have a quick option available when you don't have time to go to the store.
Keep in mind that if you are shopping for one, not everything is
good to buy in bulk quantities. Fresh produce and other perishables in large
amounts may not last long enough for one person to eat them all.
If you are busy or don't like to cook, your only
option is to eat out.
There are lots of healthy, convenient, and
ready-to-eat foods that you can keep on hand. These include snacks such as
trail mix, cut-up vegetables, yogurt, and string cheese as well as frozen
vegetables and healthy entrees you can use for meals.
Continue to Where?
Now that you have read this
information, you are ready to make smart food shopping a part of your
If you have questions about this information, it may help
to talk to a dietitian. You may want to print out this information and mark
areas or make notes in the margins where you have questions.
Return to topic:
January 25, 2013
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
& Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
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