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Shopping Solutions for Healthful Eating

Fitness for mind and body.

Consumers today have many choices when it comes to food, especially at the grocery store.

With over 30,000 items and numerous brand names, how does one go about choosing foods that are enjoyable, affordable and that provide proper nutrition?

Bag of Groceries

Following are some suggested supermarket shopping solutions to help select the most nutritious food options.

The List

Grocery List Before you head out to the supermarket, take the time to make a list. It will save you time, money and headaches.

What's to eat this week?

List out meal ideas for the week, keeping in mind which days you'll have time to cook from scratch and which days you'll be pressed for time to put dinner on the table. When time is short, opt for convenience items and couple a frozen entree with ready-to-eat produce. And be creative! If you know to plan for pizza one night, shop for salad, milk and fruit to balance out the meal.

Organize your shopping list.

As you create your shopping list, check your menu options against the Food Guide Pyramid to ensure you've remembered everything from poultry to produce. This will help ensure you are purchasing a variety of foods that provide all of your nutrient needs.

Beyond the basics.

Don't forget snacks! Everyone enjoys a little boost between meals, so stock the kitchen with nutritious, great tasting options such as low-fat popcorn, nuts and pretzels.

The Strategy

Clip Coupons

  • Don't go grocery shopping when you are hungry. Leave the decisions to your head, not your stomach. It's easier to stick to the list if you are not hungry, so plan to make sure to eat something before you go.
  • Set a routine. Establish a day and time that makes it easy for you to move quickly and easily through the store and stay focused on your shopping needs.
  • Save Money. If you're on a budget, coupon clipping or finding stores that price match are great strategies for saving money. Coupons are also a great way to expand your food choices. Use a coupon to experiment with a new meal item that you wouldn't normally purchase.
  • Kids in tow? An enjoyable grocery shopping experience with children is possible! Use it as an opportunity to give your kids a lesson in color, smell and names of new foods. Engaging them in the food selection can turn a trip to the store into a great teaching tool about nutritious food choices.

The Labels

The Food Label can be a consumer's best shopping tool. You can compare nutrients and ingredients between similar products, determine which nutrients the food contributes to your total diet, safe preparation methods and much more.

Know the Tricks of the Trade
Grocery Cart Knowing how to shop and what to look for in each aisle or section of the store helps guarantee a cart stocked with healthful products. Here are a few simple tips to help you ace the aisles:

  • Produce: Since fresh produce does not last very long, buy only the amount you will eat over a few days. And, remember, frozen fruits are a great, longer-lasting option.
  • Meat, fish, chicken, turkey, eggs: Get your protein! These foods are sources of high-quality protein. Stock up on meat, fish and chicken, especially when they are on sale. And don't forget the eggs!
  • Milk, cheese, yogurt: Call the dairy case: Calcium Central. If you don't stop here, your diet may be short on calcium. Including low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese in your diet is an easy way to get your recommended intake.
  • Frozen: The frozen foods aisle is a great place for convenient, nutritious food choices for any meal occasion -- breakfast, lunch, dinner and even dessert. Use nutrition labels to compare frozen prepared meals and entrees. You'll find that the calorie, fat, cholesterol and sodium of different brands can vary quite a bit.
  • Bread, Cereal, Pasta, Rice: Your choices within this food group can make the difference between a high fiber diet and a low-fiber diet. Opt for whole-grain products whenever possible -- such as whole-grain breads, cereals, pasta and brown rice -- to boost your fiber intake.
  • Legumes, lentils, nuts: There are a wide variety of legumes, both dry and canned, available in the supermarket. Pinto, kidney or black beans provide fiber, folate and protein. nuts and peanut butter contain monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, selenium and protein.
  • Canned foods: Canned fruits and vegetables are great to have on hand because they are similar and sometimes higher in nutrients than their fresh counterparts -- and they don't spoil as quickly!

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Disclaimer: The material on this Web site is not intended to replace advice from your doctor or fitness professional. Please consult with your physician before beginning any fitness program or fat or weight reduction program. FitnessandFreebies.com takes no responsibility for individual results, or any claim made by a third party.