How to Shop for the Healthiest Foods
The local grocery store is a great place to find healthy, nutritious foods. Unfortunately, it is also a place to find less healthy foods and many junk foods. Learning how to follow a healthy lifestyle means learning how to shop for the healthiest foods, and learning how to avoid temptation.
Learning to read labels is an important skill for any healthy shopper. The information on nutritional labels is very valuable, providing complete information on the percentage of many vitamins and minerals a particular food contains. In addition, nutritional information labels provide valuable information on things like the amount of calories, number of at grams, percentage of total fat and amount of fiber each food contains. It is important to choose those foods that have the best nutritional qualities as you roam the local grocery store.
There are some important guidelines to follow to make sure that every trip to the grocery store will be a healthy experience. After all, you cannot have a healthy refrigerator or a healthy dinner table without first stocking your kitchen pantry with the healthiest foods available.
One of the best pieces of advice is probably something you have heard a million times, and that is to never go grocery shopping when you are hungry. Even if it means stopping for a quick snack on your way, it is important to not enter the supermarket while you are hungry. Hungry shoppers make bad choices, and those unhealthy choices will be around long after your hunger has abated.
Another good trick is to hit the produce section of your grocery store first. Fill up your food basket with healthy, nutritious fruits and vegetables. Not only will this allow you to stock the fridge and the pantry with healthy choices, but it will leave less room for all those less healthy foods.
It is also important to always make a detailed shopping list before hitting the grocery store. A well thought out grocery list keeps you from overspending, and also helps keep you from succumbing to the temptation of less healthy junk foods. To keep a detailed list of what you need on your next shopping list, try keeping a notepad by the fridge or on the dining room table. Write down each item as you think of it, and come shopping day, you will have a complete list of everything you need to buy.
As you shop around the grocery store, it is a good idea to take advantage of the many low fat foods that fill grocery store shelves. There are low at varieties of many foods, including milk and dairy products, meats and cheeses, even cakes and pies. Most of these products contain all the taste of the full fat products, without all the fat.
When shopping for low fat foods, however, be on the lookout for extra sugar content. This is not so much a concern with milk and dairy products, but it is sometimes a concern with low fat baked goods. Some manufacturers pack their low fat baked goods with extra sugar, so it pays to be a smart label reader.
As long as you watch sugar content, however, low fat desserts and sweets are excellent choices. When grocery shopping, try to choose naturally lower fat alternatives, such as angel food cake, fig bars and vanilla wafers. Buying smaller portion sizes is another smart strategy for enjoying sweets while limiting fat and calories.
Another smart strategy is to choose whole grain breads and cereals whenever possible. Whole grains contain more fiber and other nutrients than do more processed foods, so buying whole grains makes a lot of sense.
When shopping for the healthiest cereals in the grocery store, it is helpful to understand how the cereal aisle of the typical grocery store is arranged. Shelf space at a grocery store is in high demand and short supply, and cereal manufacturers take advantages of this fact in their store shelf marketing. In general, the less healthy, sugar laden cereals are arranged at kid height, while the more adult, healthier products are on the top shelves.
That is one reason why your kids are always trying to put those sugar cubes disguised as cereal in your cart as you shop. Choosing the healthier cereals from the top shelves is a good strategy, but it is still important to read the labels to make sure you are getting what you think you are.
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