We are what we eat, so to be healthy and feel fit you need to know what healthier foods look like and how to shop for them. Grocery stores offer many competing options; labels are claiming to have more protein and less fat, so it can be challenging to make a beneficial choice. Here are our top 5 simple tips on how to shop for healthier foods:
- Shop the outer perimeter of the store for fresh produce.
This is, probably, the most important tip from this list. Usually, perimeter houses the whole and produce foods. In the center of the store, you will find boxed, canned, and frozen items that cannot be considered as a real food. Either way, remember that your first choice should be fresh food, the second one – frozen items, and the third – canned food. Keep in mind that it is healthier to stick to foods that have short ingredient lists, including five or fewer ingredients.
- Plan ahead, create a weekly menu, and make a shopping list.
Search for new healthy recipes to surprise your family members, find out what products you need, and write down a full shopping list. You simply should stick to the list and avoid buying prepared foods with “hidden” extras that might include fats, sugar, preservatives, and other chemicals. Make sure to avoid all soda, choose juices and water instead. This is the easiest way to control what foods you consume.
- Find the farmers market and shop there.
If you want to buy sustainable, fresh, and local produce, you should consider shopping at the nearest farmers market. You will be surprised, but many items are cheaper, compared to those in the grocery store. Many farmers use organic growing methods, but they just do not have the money or time to get certified as organic. You should get to know the local farmers, so you will find great deals on healthier food.
- Read the labels carefully.
Being label-savvy helps you choose healthier foods. Clearly, most fruits and vegetables do not have such labels, but packed foods have labels with ingredients and nutrition. If you see the words that you do not understand on the label, it is better to avoid this product. Health claims should also make you suspicious. For example, low fat, no cholesterol, and sugar-free products often contain fake ingredients that can lead to chronic disease over time.
- Learn what “organic” and “natural” really means.
Food producers know that their customers often do not know what the use of the words “organic” and “natural” means. If you do not want to be confused, keep the following information in mind. The organic label is earned through a certification process. Foods can be labeled as “made with organic ingredients,” “organic” (95 – 99 % organic), and “100 % organic.” Use of “natural” on labels is a claim of a producer that is not subject to inspections, so you should just take their word for it.