Healthy Tricks for Grocery Shopping

Do you feel overwhelmed when you’re making your weekly grocery run at the mega food mart? With so much to choose from and your own priorities on the line--best financial value, best quality and nutrition, best for the environment--it’s no wonder if you’re lost in the supermarket. You could spend hours just browsing the cereal options! Not to worry: these tips will help you check out faster so you can choose the foods that will help you live longer.

We all want to save time and money at the supermarket, while still coming home with nutritious foods. The following tips will help make your experience more pleasurable so you can become a grocery guru.

Shop the Edge of Glory!

As you step into your favorite market, you may feel overwhelmed by the amount of products staring back at you! Tempting cookies and salty snacks can throw you off track, making you forget what your body really needs. Keep in mind that most processed foods are boxed or canned--the stuff you find in the inner aisles of the market. Be a savvy shopper and start by filling your cart with foods located in the perimeters of the market.

Make a Game Plan

To avoid impulse shopping, make a list beforehand and never go shopping on an empty stomach. Otherwise you might leave the store with more items (some not so healthy) than you bargained for!

1.  Start with produce: Load up on your favorite fresh fruits and vegetables. Are you bonkers for bananas or do you crave your cruciferous broccoli? Stock up on these cancer-fighting champions first!

2. Protein picks: Forget the processed bologna, and instead select fresh lean cuts of meat and poultry and fish, which are packed with B vitamins, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, and lean protein. Find out more about the benefits of B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acid in The Natural Health Dictionary.

3. Get your dose of dairy: Choose low-fat milk, unsweetened low-fat yogurt, and low-fat cheeses. If you and cow products are not on friendly terms, you can choose from dairy-free beverages like almond, rice, soy, hempseed, or coconut milk.

4. Frozen eats: Cut way back on processed frozen meals and sweet treats that are loaded with preservatives. Choose frozen fruits and vegetables instead and boost your health!

Bonus Tip: This list starts with produce because that is your best way to feed your body antioxidant-, fiber-, and vitamin-rich foods. Americans are not even close to the recommendation for 2-4 servings of fruit and 3-5 servings of veggies every day. If you are looking for an easy way to reach your fruit and veggie quota for the day, make your own fresh produce juice in a blender or juicer--or take high-quality liquid vitamins. Consider trying Liquid Whole Food Vitamins, a bio-absorbable blend of organic ingredients that will give you a healthy dose of beneficial vitamins and nutrients.

No Can Do!

Many canned foods are lined with a hazardous compound known as bisphenol A, which may increase the risk of cancer. BPA may also disrupt the endocrine system, so stick to fresh foods as much as possible. If you must use canned foods, choose low-sodium, BPA-free canned foods when available. (Back at home, drain the canned beans and fish to remove excess salt.) Remember to read the percentage of sodium on the back of the label. A “low-sodium” label can still be packed with sodium--so always look at the percentage. It is best to choose items that list less than 4% sodium per serving size. Here are some more phrases that will help you navigate the aisles more easily:

Sodium free: less than 5 mg sodium per serving

Very-low sodium: no more than 35 mg sodium per serving

Low-sodium: no more than 140 mg sodium per serving

Be a Label Sleuth

Don’t be fooled by the bright and shiny claims on the front of the box--the real proof is on the nutrition facts and ingredients list. A case in point: The word “multigrain” on the front of the box does not necessarily mean that the product contains whole grains. Always look for the word “whole” to get real whole grain benefits. Look closely at the small print: if the ingredient list reminds you of Frankenstein's science lab, stay away! Pay attention to the sodium, fiber, and fat content per serving size. Whole grain cereals, crisp breads, and crackers should always have more fiber than sugar per serving.

Smart Savings

Don't be lured into making purchases just because items are on sale. Buying in bulk is a smart choice as long as you are buying healthy unprocessed items that you really will eat. Whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, and frozen fruits and vegetables are all excellent choices to stock up on. Invest in your longevity and seek out coupons that will keep both your wallet and heart healthy!

I hope that you will always enjoy shopping for healthy and delicious foods!

A few of the terms that were defined in this article come from The Natural Health Dictionary. It is a comprehensive guide that answers all your questions about natural remedies, healing herbs, longevity foods, vitamins, and supplements. Also, you can find more ways to live a long and healthy life in Secrets of Longevity: Hundreds of Ways to Live to Be 100, which is now available on Kindle.

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May you live long, live strong, and live happy all year long!

—Dr. Mao

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