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8 tips for navigating the grocery store

Last Modified: 8/20/2019

In the average grocery store, shoppers have their pick of more than 42,000 individual products. So how is a person supposed to know which are the best choices to toss into the cart? Lauren Harden, MBA, RDN, LD, community outreach dietitian, Parkview Health, has eight pointers for navigating the shelves of your local store.

8 tips for grocery store shopping success

1. Always make a list. 

This simple task can help you save time and money while grocery shopping. It’s also a smart step to prevent you from buying extra snacks or sweets you might not need.

2. Have a meal plan.

Pick a day in the week that works for you and sit down to make a meal plan for the week. It’s a wonderful way to stay on track with your health goals and also help to formulate your healthy grocery list. This also helps reduce food waste.

3. Focus on the perimeter of the store.

Most fresh produce, lean proteins and dairy exist around the perimeter of the grocery store. Try to stock up on a variety of fruits and vegetables. Try to stick to just whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds from the center aisles.

4. Shop in season.

When they’re in season, fruits and vegetables are at their peak flavor. You can also get more in-season produce at a better price. Tip: Stockpile and freeze your favorite fruits and vegetables, like fresh berries in the summer months.

5. Read food labels.

This is so important! Make sure you not only know serving sizes, sodium content, added sugars, and so on, but also the ingredients in the food you are purchasing. Try to avoid ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, preservatives and artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners.

6. Shop (and eat) the rainbow.

Just as dietitians often tell people to fill half of their plates with fruits and vegetables, the same is true when shopping. Fill half of your cart with fruits and vegetables. Aim for a variety of types and colors of produce. Each color has a different (and wonderful) benefit to your body!

7. Stock up on frozen fruits and vegetables.

These can save you on busy days when you need to whip up a quick, easy and healthy dinner. Frozen fruit is great to throw in smoothies or oatmeal in the morning.

8. Look for plant-based proteins. 

Items like dried beans, lentils, nuts, seeds and whole grains are inexpensive and extremely healthy protein options. Consider switching out some animal proteins for plant-based protein options for added health benefits.


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