They say that well begun is half done. If you want to eat healthy meals it’s important that you shop healthy grocery as well to begin with. Doing the right kind of grocery shopping is the base of eating healthy and will help you stick to your diet and nutrition goals that you have set. Here are some tips that will help you shop for good foods…
1. Plan your weekly meals and make a list - Plan one to two weeks of breakfast/lunch/dinner. If not exact, at least make a rough plan of what you want to have. Not only the main meals but also plan for your snacks. For e.g. a fruit is a good option for the mid-morning break while you can try some plain popcorns/roasted chana/puffed cereals in the evening. Accordingly make a list of foods you need and then go ahead and buy. Without a plan, you can certainly be confused
and purchase unnecessary foods.
2. Sale, Sale, Sale! - Generally the items which are near to their expiry dates are put on sale. Hence please check the expiry dates and only then buy the products. You would not want to eat stale foods- they lack nutrients and can turn bad if expired already. Also, many a times the foods
on sale can be unhealthy. So don’t get attracted to those sugar laden colas/fruit drinks only because they are on sale- please note they are harmful for health!
3. Seasonal fruits and veggies - Choose fresh and seasonal fruits and vegetables. Being seasonal they are packed with most nutrients and will be a fresh produce. These are healthier than canned and preserved variety.
4. Variety is the spice of life - Opt for a variety foods such as food grains, millets, vegetables and fruits, beans/sprouts/legumes etc. Many a times we just stick to a few kind of foods and miss out on the various nutrients which others give. For e.g. buy different coloured fruits and veggies, beans etc. as these pigments contain important nutrients called antioxidants.
5. Opt for whole grain foods - Buy whole grain cereals and pulses which contain good amount of fibers and vitamins. Refined flours and the products made out of it lack these nutrients and hence should be avoided or used minimally. Look for ‘whole’ wheat/grain/pulses on the package and choose these items instead of the others. For e.g. whole wheat bread/flour, whole ‘multigrain’ flour etc.
6. Keep a check on ingredients list - If you buy packaged food, always check for the ingredients label. The ingredient which is maximum in the product tops the list, so on and so forth the list continues. Try and avoid the foods which contain a lot of ingredients in the list or the names of ingredients which are difficult to pronounce or generally not heard of or which sound like chemicals. This is because the preservatives or flavoring agents, stabilizing agents or other artificial food additives in it come on the ingredient list and the list keeps on adding up. For e.g. monosodium glutamate (MSG)/ajinomoto can be in the ingredients list – which you should avoid- it’s a chemical which gives appealing taste to the food- but actually is very harmful for health.
7. Nutrition facts label is important - Another important factor is to read the nutrition facts label. Check how much the serving size of the food is. Accordingly you can calculate how much calories, fats, protein you will get when you eat one serving. Compare labels when there are more options available. Choose the one which is healthier. Ingredients and nutrient content can vary a lot by brand and preparation. Choose the item which contain least sodium, saturated fat, trans fat and added sugars. All these nutrients in excess are unhealthy for your body and may cause various disorders. Be careful, sodium and added sugars have various names, which makes it difficult to understand how much of it is present in the particular food item.
8. Shop local, healthy and save big - When you shop for local produce, you will get fresh items and they will less expensive than exported goods.
9. Avoid buying readymade mixes of vegetables/soups etc - These ready mixes contain a lot of sodium to preserve them and also chemicals and fats to fix the taste and flavor. Many a times their prices are higher than the homemade foods.
10. Oil is well - Oil contains good fats as well! So don’t chuck it out completely from your diet. Instead keep on rotating between different kinds of oils. You can switch your oils on bimonthly/monthly basis or a good idea is to use two types of oil at a time. Accordingly plan which and how much to buy when you shop for your grocery. For e.g. buy virgin/extra virgin olive oil for your salads and rice bran oil for cooking. A variety of oils can be used. Filtered oils such as ground nut oil or cotton seed oil or mustard oil or other oils such as sunflower/safflower/soybean oil or blend oils is also an option. But remember to use oil in small quantity. Avoid deep frying of foods. Use less oil while cooking. To avoid using it in excess, do not buy it in bulk. Just shop for it on monthly/bimonthly basis. If it is used in excess it may lead to problems such as weight gain, acidity, increased cholesterol etc. These were a few tips to help you know how about healthy grocery shopping. For more detailed label reading and information on food items, always talk to your registered nutritionist first and get fooducated…
http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/10- tips-for- healthy-grocery- shopping#3
https://healthyforgood.heart.org/eat-smart/articles/understanding- food-nutrition- labels
https://healthyforgood.heart.org/eat-smart/articles/5- easy-ways- to-find- healthier-options- at-the-grocery-store