Top 10 Healthy Shopping Tips
Healthy eating might seem like a challenge, especially when life gets busy. To make matters worse, markets are packed with foods to tempt the senses instead of nourishing your body, which can make weight loss and healthy eating difficult.
If you want to make healthier food choices for weight loss or any other fitness goal, a little practice can help you learn how to become a healthy, yet thrifty shopper as you save money.
The following ten healthy tips will help you learn how to meal prep like a pro as you save on shopping and time.
1. Create a meal plan. Meal prep or planning might seem tedious at first, but planning can help you make healthy choices and save on shopping. Learning how to meal prep can also help you control snacking and avoid temptation. Create a plan by writing out menu ideas for each including your daily meals and snacks with foods that fit your nutritional goals. While this might sound tedious at first, this tip will help you stick to your healthy eating goals, especially when you’re too tired to think (which is when temptation is at its highest). And creating a meal plan will make the next item easier to do, which is creating your shopping list.
2. Write out your shopping list. Once you create a meal plan, your shopping list comes from that plan and can help streamline your shopping trip. Those who use a shopping list have more success with avoiding junk foods and snacks. With practice, using a list can help you become a thrifty shopper by saving you time and money, if you stick to it. Categorize your foods into store sections such as produce, frozen foods, fresh proteins, cereals and breads to make your shopping trips even easier.
3. Choose fresh, seasonal produce. When produce is in season, it tastes better and can help you save on shopping because it costs less. And along with more flavor, seasonal produce is higher in nutrition so you get more nutritional bang for your buck. Lastly, vegetables and fruits that are in season are more likely to be purchased locally, lowering the cost of travel expenses that are passed onto the shopper.
4. Shop the perimeter of the local supermarket. If you haven’t yet noticed, supermarkets tend to keep fresh foods along the perimeter of the store. One reason for this is the access to refrigeration, which fresh foods like meats, dairy and produce require. The practice of shopping the perimeter can help you stock up on healthy, wholesome foods while avoiding the highly processed, packaged foods often found in the center aisles.
5. Include frozen fruits and vegetables for time management. Certain fruits and vegetables are best when used right away, and may not be found locally even when in season. Frozen produce is the next best thing to fresh, and can be a handy way to keep vegetables on hand for quick, healthy side dishes. If there is a certain fresh fruit you enjoy, freeze it yourself so you can have it well after the season is over. You will still enjoy the benefits of extra flavor and nutrition, and fresh fruits are excellent in smoothies.
6. Focus on whole foods. Whole foods are those that have not been processed and include fresh vegetables and fruits, meats, fish, eggs, whole grains and legumes, nuts and seeds. These are often healthier than their more processed counterparts because they don’t contain unnecessary fats, sugars or other additives. Consuming foods that are minimally processed are associated with lower rates of heart disease and cancers and can contribute to weight loss goals and improved energy levels.
7. Buy food in bulk. This includes whole foods like healthy proteins, whole grains, cereals, nuts and seeds. Proteins sold in larger packs of poultry and red meats are cost-effective and can be divided into portions, packaged and kept in your freezer for easy portion control with each meal. Certain stores sell whole grains, nuts, seeds and cereals in bins and allow you to choose how much or how little you want. Read up on proper storage and these types of foods can be very economical and convenient for planning meals ahead of time.
8. Avoid or limit junk foods and sweets. These foods can add a significant cost to your weekly food budget while not adding nutrition. And worse, they can trigger cravings and interfere with internal processes like hormonal activity, which can sabotage weight loss efforts while leaving you fatigued and cranky. First, avoid fast food restaurants and stick to making your own meals. When shopping, avoid pre-made meals, candies, packaged cookies and pastries and even some protein bars, which often contain as much or more sugar than a candy bar.
9. Snack on fresh cut veggies and fruits. Fresh vegetables can satisfy the need for something crunchy throughout the day and are far healthier than reaching for potato chips. Dip them in yogurt or peanut butter for a protein boost and stimulate your metabolism at the same time. Snacking on fruits can satisfy a sweet tooth, and if you are in a warm climate, freeze fresh fruit for a cool midday snack.
10. Mindful shopping can help you avoid over-shopping. This means to pay attention to so-called bargains or deals. For example, a price on a certain food might seem too good to be true. Most of these include fine print that says the price is good only if you buy in quantities like five! This can lead to buying food that you do not need, while some might expire before you can use it. The best way to avoid this is to stick to your shopping list and don’t stray. You created meal plans and a shopping list for a reason, so let them help you.
Healthy shopping habits may take a little time and practice, but provide long-term benefits. They can help you stick with your fitness goals and save money while improving your health. And who would have imagined that being a thrifty shopper can help with weight loss and increasing your energy levels at the same time?