My grocery plan for years has been a simple one. If it looks good and is not too expensive, buy it. I have wandered into various grocery stores with no semblance of a plan. I look around for the on sale tags, stumble down every aisle, and generally buy the items I have had before. While this has never been the cheapest way to shop, or the healthiest, I have always gotten by. After I turned 30 I felt the need to begin thinking about what I am putting into my body. I do not need to sit down and figure out coupons for the grocery store each week, although that can be helpful. I care more about the quality of my food now than saving a dollar on a similar store brand item. I decided to look up some helpful grocery shopping tips, so that I can make the correct decisions with my food each week, and share them with you.
The first step I have been trying to embrace is eliminating from my diet as many processed foods as I can: Chips, cereals, and frozen dinners. The preservatives, sugars, and salt contained in those products make my daily consumption skyrocket, particularly since they tend to be tasty snacks. That has been made easier for me since I have begun experimenting in the kitchen with making dinner. Now, instead of pushing a few buttons on a microwave, I can make myself a meal in less than 30 minutes most of the time.
With the goal of cooking my own food, I tend to stay in the produce area a lot more than before. I usually check the weekly ads before heading to the store, which only takes about five minutes. I check which fruits and vegetables are on sale and then shop accordingly. This has three benefits to me: I eat healthier, I save money by checking the ads, and I keep variety in my diet by not eating the same thing every week (because I am only buying what’s on sale). This infusion of vegetables and fruits has been a huge help with cutting down on the snack foods I always filled up on during the day.
Speaking of snack foods, my best tip to avoid even looking at them is to only patrol the perimeter of the grocery store. These snacks do nothing but add empty calories and keep me from being too full to enjoy the dinner I worked to prepare. The perimeter is where you will find the fresh foods. All the meat, dairy, and produce are located at the outer edges so I spend 99 percent of my time going through these sections.
Finally, since I am not a nutritionist, when I pick up a box and look at the nutrition facts I am usually confused by them. I know that a lot of fat, salt, or sugar is no good. However, when it comes to actual ingredients I do not know the benefits or problems associated with most of the additives in food products. The easiest way for me to discern what is good versus what is not is to buy the items with fewer ingredients than others. That means they contain more of the all natural foods than the competitors who supplement them with sugars to make up the difference. With these simple steps your grocery shopping can show marked improvement in very little time. Keeping our bodies healthy needs to be our highest priority as we get older, and you will quickly notice a difference in your energy and weight just like I did.
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