The road to healthy eating begins at the grocery store. What you buy makes up a large portion of your diet, so it’s important to make smart choices. But navigating the store can sometimes feel daunting, and some people leave with more snacks than fresh produce.
Here are five things you can do to make every grocery run a successful one.
First, don’t shop when you’re hungry, angry or tired. You’re more likely to stock up on unhealthy foods or sugar-rich items you’re craving.
Second, make a list. Take a few minutes before heading to the store to plan out several meals, and create a list of the ingredients you’ll need to buy. This keeps you focused at the store and ensures you won’t forget a necessary ingredient. Build meals around nutrient-heavy foods, like lean meats, fruit, vegetables and whole grains.
Third, stick to the perimeter of the store. Most grocery stores are laid out so the fresh foods, like meats, vegetables, dairy and fruit, are kept on the perimeter, and processed foods are placed in the aisles. You’re more likely to grab healthier foods when shopping along the perimeter and only visit the aisles for specific items.
Fourth, read the ingredient lists on boxed foods. If you can’t pronounce several, it’s likely highly processed and not something you should be eating.
Lastly, keep your eye on the cashier. The checkout line is filled with items like chocolate, chips and baked goods in a last-ditch attempt to entice shoppers into unnecessary purchases. Resist the temptation by keeping your focus straight ahead.
Use these tips to navigate your grocery store with ease and set yourself up for a healthy week ahead.