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Father and adult son shopping at the grocery store

Being Successful at the Grocery Store

Smart grocery shopping is an important part of eating healthy. There are plenty of ways to set yourself up for success at the grocery store. One of the simplest places to start is by creating a menu for yourself so you know what to buy. Take an inventory of your pantry and fridge. Do you have items left over that you can create another, or new, dish with? Save money by incorporating what you have into meals for the week. 

Plan Ahead

Make your list, and check it twice. Plan your menu ahead for the week and do a thorough check to make sure you have enough of the ingredients you need, and write down what you need to buy. Making a list of what you need, down to every condiment, will help you be more successful in executing your planned menu and leading to less waste of things you purchase but end up not using. 

Shop the Perimeter

The healthiest foods tend to be found around the perimeter of the grocery store, so try to buy most of your items from here. Think produce, dairy, meat and deli. Fresh fruits and vegetables are great sources of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Dairy products such as eggs, Greek yogurt and cheese provide protein, calcium and vitamin D. You can find fresh meat without preservatives and additives in the meat department. The meat in the deli will be more processed that those in the meat department, but less processed than those found in the refrigerated section, such as deli meat. The freezer section is another great area to shop. You can find frozen vegetables without any added sodium, fruit to add to smoothies, pancakes or yogurt and even low-calorie meals to keep on hand for a quick and healthy meal when you run out of time to prepare something yourself.   

Keep it Fresh

Plan your weekly menu by incorporating both fresh items and those that will last longer. For example, purchase fresh vegetables and meat to serve with dinner at the beginning of the week, and frozen vegetables and meat for meals at the end of the week. Pay attention to the expiration date on items when shopping. This will help ensure that you buy ingredients that will work for your menu and waste less money on items you end up throwing out. 

In the middle of the week take the time to shop around your own house. Are some the items you purchased spoiling sooner than you thought? You can move your planned meals around to accommodate using them so you do not have to throw away anything. Fruit that is starting to over-ripen can be diced and kept in a freezer bag for smoothies. Meats can be cooked earlier in the week for a meal you will serve later on if you notice they are nearing the expiration date. Keeping an eye on the quality of your ingredients will lead to less waste male it easier to stick to your plan for the week.   

Planning is an important part of grocery shopping, and it will help you stay on track with your healthy eating! Learn more about the CHI Health Weight Management program.

Robin Duhon, RD, LD, LMNT
Robin Duhon, RD, LD, LMNT

Robin Duhon MPPH, RD, LD, LMNT is a registered dietitian for CHI Health Weight Management

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