What is in my Grocery Cart?

Food Shopping 101

Navigating the grocery store can surely be a daunting task, but with some knowledge and a few smart strategies, you can make healthier choices while saving time and avoiding misleading marketing tactics (& BOY are there a lot of them!) Here are some tips and tricks to help you on your next grocery shopping adventure.

Plan Ahead and Go with a LIST! 

Your success at the grocery store starts BEFORE you even enter it.  Before you head out, make sure you have a list of the items you need to help you stay focused and avoid impulsive purchases or unhealthy items.

Do yourself a favor and NEVER, I repeat, NEVER, go to the grocery store hungry.

If you happen to have a grocery store near you that offers shop ahead and pick up, even better!  Make your list at home, order your groceries, and you have now saved even MORE time without even leaving your house!

Shop the Perimeter of the Store

The outside aisles of the grocery store are where you are going to find the fresh produce, lean meats, frozen items, and dairy needs. These are generally the healthier options, so it is wise to begin your shopping journey there!

It’s important to read the ingredients in what you are eating. When you shop the middle aisles, pay attention to the list of ingredients. The shorter the list, the BETTER! If there are ingredients you cannot read, it’s likely not good for you! Look for lower levels of sugars, sodium, and unhealthy fats. 

NOTHING is more important than what you put in your body.  Stick to MOSTLY Whole Foods, those that come from the ground or that had a mother.

Do NOT get caught up in marketing tactics that can lead you astray. Ignore the front of the packaging and look directly at the nutrition label. What are the ingredients?  Try to avoid foods that have more than five ingredients, artificial ingredients, or ingredients you cannot pronounce!

EVEN BETTER: buy foods that do not have a nutrition label.  These are typically your Whole Foods. 

If you apply these general concepts to your upcoming food shopping trips, you are automatically starting in a healthier place!! We want to work on cutting out preservatives, artificial sugars and fats, and processed foods.

Frozen Fruits & Veggies

A fantastic way to save time/money, and to get those vegetables and fruits is in the freezer section! Make sure to look for the vegetables without the added sauces and you can absolutely use frozen to help fill the produce gap, especially in the colder months!

Canned and Dried Foods

Canned vegetables, fruits, and beans are also a good source of whole foods, as long as you are searching for the ones without added salts and fruits packed in juice. Tuna packed in water, cans of chicken in water, olive, coconut, avocado oils, and all sorts of vinegars are all part of a healthy and stocked pantry.

What About Organic?

Buying organic everything is simply not practical or affordable for many and I am no different. 

If possible & practical, I try to buy organic meats because most conventional meat contains hormones, antibiotics, and pesticides. The pesticides found in cows, chicken, turkey and other animals comes from their feed which is grown using synthetic fertilizers and herbicides. These hormones, antibiotics, and additives can ALL have a negative impact on our bodies. So when I can, I will choose to purchase organic, grass fed meats. 

Avoid foods labeled “Fat Free”

Low-fat foods may seem healthy, but they are often loaded with sugar and other unhealthy ingredients. These can lead to excessive hunger, weight gain, and disease. For optimal health, do your absolute best to consume unprocessed, whole foods.

Avoid foods labeled “Sugar Free”

Oh the joy of marketing and labels! What a farce they can truly be! When a packaged food is labeled as “Sugar Free,” that oftentimes means the real sugar has been left behind and replaced with an artificial sweetener. This is yet another reason why it is so important to always read ingredient labels. Did you know that artificial sweeteners were literally invented in a lab by food scientists and that some of those sweeteners only entered our food system as recently as a few decades ago?  Stay clear of artificial sweeteners with generic chemical names: aspartame, sucralose, saccharin, acesulfame K or acesulfame potassium, & neotame. “Accumulating evidence suggests that frequent consumers of these [artificial] sugar substitutes may also be at increased risk of excessive weight gain, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.”

Let’s Do a Final Check

Before you check out at the store, do a final check of what’s in your cart.. Make sure your cart has visually 50 percent fruits and veggies, 25 percent lean and plant proteins, 25 percent whole grains — and don’t forget to double check there are enough healthy fats, like avocado, nuts, seeds, nut butters and healthy oils. 

REMEMBER: You are only as healthy as your last trip to the grocery store!

Did you know that you get a meal plan/grocery for ALL 6 weeks when you register for the FASTer Way to save you even more time and money and take the guesswork out of shopping entirely?
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