Shopping for healthy groceries

Written by Abbi Ryan

Abbi Ryan is a contributing author and a creative director at Dr. J's Natural with a passion for all things health and wellness. As a former college athlete and fellow health enthusiast, Abbi aims to share her thoughts and research about the important things that will help create a happier and healthier lifestyle. In her spare time, Abbi enjoys cooking, spending time with family, and painting new pieces of wall decor for her new home!

April 20, 2022

Grocery shopping can be a stressful and often overwhelming experience when scanning the aisles for the right foods to add to the cart. We’ve shared the ultimate guide to grocery shopping for healthy, nutritious foods that will fill your fridge and benefit your overall health.

Healthy Grocery Shopping

Creating a grocery list is essential for many shoppers that want to stay on track and buy based on weekly meals for you and your family. This is especially helpful if you are looking for healthful foods to add to your home.

Oftentimes, without a list, we tend to shop based on what sounds good at the moment or what’s on sale that day. However, this can lead to an influx of unhealthy snacks, random desserts, or the microwaveable mac and cheese that’s only $5.99! So make sure you go in with a definitive list to ensure you are sticking to the foods and are less likely to stray from the course.

Make a Weekly Menu

Planning out meals ahead of time can help reduce your urge to grab fast food on the way home or get stuck eating snacks instead of full meals. Your daily meals should represent all food groups and your weekly menu items should reflect this. It may even be helpful to print out your ingredients list and bring that to the store instead of a grocery list in order to be sure you’ve got everything you need.

If you are accustomed to many meals out or ordering in, perhaps you’ll want to attempt only 1 meal out and the rest is cooked at home. Eating out can compromise your desire to eat more nutritious food and can open the door for unhealthy foods you wouldn’t buy at the supermarket.

Have a Snack Before

This might sound funny, but many say “Don’t show up at a supermarket hungry”. More often than not, you will find yourself drifting toward the junk food aisle to find something “little” to snack on in the car or before you even leave the store. That is why it’s always wiser to grab a snack or eat lunch before your food errands take place.

Spend Wisely

Healthy grocery shopping foods tend to be a little pricier, so finding the right nutritious meals can be difficult if you’re budgeting. But simple decisions about choosing the right kinds of foods you want can help you save a few bucks.

Opt for whole fruits and vegetables rather than pre-cut selections. Whole produce is less expensive most of the time and white this may not save you time in preparation for meals, it will certainly save you some extra cash.

Try to plan when you will be cooking/preparing your food and keep the expiration date in mind to avoid throwing out food. Produce goes bad the quickest so keep that in mind when meal planning. Frozen produce lasts longer, so this might be a good alternative for you if you’re worried about waste.

Get Supermarket Smart

There are ways to choose nutritious foods in nearly every section of the store. Take a look at some examples:

  1. Bread, Pasta & Cereals – Stick to 100% whole-wheat (or gluten-free if needed). Steer clear of the sugary cereals and opt for something also whole grain or fiber-rich.
  2. Produce – EAT THE RAINBOW! Diversify your choices and choose fruits & vegetables that will feed your health goals. It is best to incorporate fruit and/or vegetable throughout your daily diet.
  3. Dairy -dairy products are a great source of vitamin D and calcium, however, they can be sensitive to some. If you’re choosing a yogurt, try to find products that contain probiotics to support gut health & even opt for almond milk instead of cow’s milk.
  4. Meat, Fish & Poultry – Fish tends to be the most expensive of the three, so if you’re looking to save money, try looking for meals that use other sources of protein. Red meat consumed in high doses can cause digestive problems for some, so opt for a bit more diversity and supplement with some chicken or pork now and again.
  5. Canned and Dried Food – these products are very valuable for storing away for months (sometimes years!) and they are universally inexpensive. When choosing canned vegetables, try opting for no salt added, and for canned fruit, try to avoid those packed in syrup.
  6. Frozen Foods – This section can be intimidating and when choosing healthy, it is especially a challenge sorting through the frozen dinners with loads of fats or carbs you probably do not need in your diet.

Need some ideas? Save this for your next grocery trip!

guide to healthy food shopping


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