4 Tips for Your Shopping Cart Strategy
Many of us long to fill our homes with nutrient-rich ingredients that benefit both our families and our budgets. The hiccup–we don’t always know what to look for when trying to choose real over processed. Terms like, “whole,” “healthy,” and “natural” can be misleading, and the ability to choose the right product when there are so many options can be tricky. Here are four key things to look for when choosing real this year.
WRITE IT OUT
One of the easiest ways to help you make knock-out meals without spending hours in the kitchen is to create a list before you shop. Whether you love pen and paper or remain cell phone ready, writing down a grocery list will save time on the front end and money on the back end. It can be simple, easy and even fun! Ever come home from the grocery store only to realize you can only really create one or two meals from everything? We suggest picking one meat or protein to use in a variety of meals. If you don’t want to be eating a ton of leftovers, try selecting veggies and proteins that can be used in a variety of recipes—this will keep your fridge stocked to handle multiple meals, not just one. Planning ahead will help. Check out our Meal Prepping Basics for more tips on making an effective list.
SHOP THE PERIMETER
You may be a veteran of this phrase, but if not, it is one you can trust. Products that tend to be most conducive to helping you and your family develop nutrient-rich eating habits are usually found on the perimeter of the store where fruit, veggies, meat and dairy hang out. Think fresh. Think raw. Read the label, and think five ingredients or less. Choosing real foods with less processing and no additives will help keep you feel good about your food choices. Quick tip: Natural sweeteners like raw and unfiltered honey and fiber-rich grains, nuts, and seeds will be missed if you skip the inside aisles completely. Be sure to swing by and toss these items in your cart on your way out.
READ THE LABELS
If you can’t pronounce it, you probably don’t need to eat it. Stick to the basics and go with what you know. Kelly R. Jones, a registered nutritionist, recently stated that, “When you see ‘no sugar added,’ unfortunately it is often on diet products that contain artificial sweeteners or may be on products naturally high in sugar, such as juice, that may contain more sugar than another product with some that has been added. In terms of the artificially sweetened products, not only do they contain these sweeteners that may interfere with appetite regulation and have been shown by some research to harm good gut bacteria.” Stick with the real stuff with nothing added.
Quick tip: When looking to sweeten your meals, turn to honey to maintain the natural quality of your food. Unlike processed sugar, raw and unfiltered honey provides nutrients and vitamins that will only enhance your delicious home cooked meals.
ASK YOURSELF THIS QUESTION
A key phrase to ask yourself before planning or purchasing a meal or snack is, “Will I thank myself tomorrow?” It sounds easy, because it is! The journey to creating long-term food and nutrition habits begins with the daily decision to choose real. We aren’t saying that the occasional ice cream sandwich isn’t uncalled for, but we want to aim for real, simple ingredients as often as possible.
Visit this page for more tips on how to #choosereal this month.