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4 Tips to Becoming a Healthier Grocery Shopper

4 Tips to Becoming a Healthier Grocery Shopper
Good nutrition starts with smart choices in the grocery store. But, grocery shopping can be an intimidating task, because let’s face it…there are SO many different options. Regain your shopping sanity with these tips and tricks that will help you become a healthier grocery shopper.
  1. Plan Ahead – Before you even step foot out of your house, make sure you plan your meals for the week, and create a list to shop from. It will take some time, but it will prevent you from impulsive purchases or having to run back to the store for missing ingredients. To save money, use coupons, check the weekly grocery ads, and incorporate sale foods into your meal planning.
  1. Don’t Shop Hungry – Shopping on an empty stomach often results in impulse purchases that might not be the healthiest of options. I’ve made this mistake and ended up with snacks that I wouldn’t normally buy in my shopping cart. A research letter published in JAMA Internal Medicine actually shows that hungry grocery shoppers are more likely to buy higher-calorie food items. "It's known that hungry people buy more food in the grocery store, but what happens more is that people shift their shopping patterns to contain more high-calorie foods,” said Aner Tal, a post-doctoral research fellow at Cornell University's Food and Brand Lab. “When you are hungry, you think high-calorie food can provide you with more energy.” So, shop smart and have a snack prior to your next trip!
  1. Stick to the Perimeter – When you are shopping in the grocery store, try to avoid the center aisles as much as you can. If you really pay attention to the grocery store layout, you’ll notice that the center aisles are where you are likely to find the sugary, sweet, junk foods and foods full of preservatives. Instead, stick to the perimeter where you will find dairy, meats, and an abundance of fresh produce to stock up on.
  1. Read the Labels – If you do find yourself in the center aisles (for whole grains, beans, canned fruit, etc.) make sure you take a look at the labels. Aim to choose options that have few ingredients; I try to avoid foods that contain more than five ingredients or artificial ingredients. If the label is full of words that you can’t pronounce, put it back. Some foods that are considered “healthy” and labeled as “natural” may contain harmful chemicals used as food preservatives and flavor enhancers – and these chemicals are often disguised under unrecognizable names. For more details on how to better understand nutrition labels and review product comparisons, check out one of our favorite health bloggers, Vani Hari a.k.a., “The Food Babe.” She is constantly helping consumers better understand some of today’s most popular food brands and ingredient lists!
Do you have any tips on how to become a healthier grocery shopper? Let us know in the comments below. Cheers! Teresa & WANU Sources: WedMD.com, JAMANetwork.com, FoodBabe.com

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