Making Healthy Choices From the Grocery Store
Tips from the Nutrition Consultant
We all know about the daunting task of going to the grocery store each week! If you have children, you also know that you leave the store with a few extra gray hairs growing!
Whether you are forced to grocery shop with children or not, it is still important to have a game plan before, during, and after your store visit. We all want to eat healthier, right? We all want to pick foods that are better for our bodies and our planet too. Below are some useful tips to help us make these things happen!
1.) Make a list and don't go to the store hungry. We've heard this before, but it is an important step we must take in order to save money. When we are hungry, we become savage beasts grabbing the most unhealthy and quick foods we find. When we don't follow our lists, we spend more from buying unnecessary items.
2.) Buy only necessary organic products. Yes, we should buy some things organic, such as certain produce and most animal products. Berries, apples, peaches, celery, greens, and carrots are among the few produce items that should really be bought organic. Put aside the double dipped fudge cookies for now and use the extra cents for the bag of organic greens. In addition to the produce, organic and grass fed animal products should be considered if you eat these items frequently. This will cost more though, so non-animal recipes may be something to consider. I encourage organic animal products due to the mass amounts of harmful drugs put into the animals' bodies. What they eat, we eat. This has some long-term negative health consequences.
3.) For the love of all things holy, please read the ingredients! Remember, advertising is quite deceiving! If the box says "More Fiber!" or "Now with Whole Grain!" It doesn't mean we should devour each morsel in five seconds flat. "Organic cookies" are still cookies with sugar! If we simply pause, turn the box sideways, and roll our eyes in a downward direction, we will see a group of words called "Ingredients." If the ingredients contain more words then you can count, don't get it. Most likely, it will contain some chemical (such as a flame retardant, I'm not making this up) that has no place in our foods. Put the box down, and move on. Remember, the best foods are those that come from the ground!
4.) Choose only necessary items from the "middle" aisles. The middle aisles are where you will find your most processed foods. These items are also quite high in price. I only buy items, like rice, dry beans, and some pastas from the middle aisle. If you're lucky, you MAY find some cereals that don't have the chemical BHT in it.....that is if you're lucky. So stick to just staples. You will get more meals out of them anyway.
5.) Finally, is couponing worth it? When you buy the foods that are most healthy for you, chances are, you won't get too many coupons for them. The companies for the unhealthy foods want you to buy more of their yucky stuff, so they supply endless amounts of coupons. You can only get so much Hamburger Helper before tipping the scale and clogging your arteries. So, coupon wisely. I recommend searching online for coupons of non-traditional foods. For example, if you are a firm believer in organic milk, check out StoneyField Organics' website for coupons. Many stores these days offer the store brand organic version, which saves money and is very healthy too.
Be your own health advocate when you make that special trip to the store. Research products, and compare prices. Remember, your health and your families' health is what matters most. It is okay if you are spending nearly two hours in the store examining labels, putting some items back, and being picky. I've done it, and no one has yet called security! In the month of February alone, I've saved over $200 a month on groceries, from following the tips above. Happy grocery shopping!