8 Tips to Navigate the Grocery Store! Clean eating

Monday, October 3, 2011

I grocery shop every Sunday. It's just become part of my routine. I feel like I need to pick another day because...I don't know if you got the memo...but EVERYONE shops on Sunday! As I was shopping, it really made me realize and remember just how hard the grocery store is to navigate  Sometimes when I walk in there, I feel like I'm being bombarded with lies and manipulation!! That place can be evil! Unless you know the rules....Buyer beware because it's incredibly easy to be tricked into buying something you think is healthy! 
1. Rule number one: Buy fresh food! There is no simpler, no easier, no plainer measure of the healthiness of your food than whether it comes in boxes and cans or is fresh from the farm or the fields. If more than half your groceries are prepared foods, then you need to evolve your cooking and eating habits back to the healthy side by picking up more fresh vegetables, fruits, seafood, juices, and dairy.
2. Shop the perimeter of the store. That’s where all the fresh foods are. The less you find yourself in the central aisles of the grocery store, the healthier your shopping trip will be. Make it a habit — work the perimeter of the store for the bulk of your groceries, then dip into the aisles for staples that you know you need.
3. Think of the departments (dairy, produce, meat, and so on) as separate stores within the supermarket. You wouldn’t shop at every store at a mall the same way, would you? You know better than to idly browse through a jewelry store, don’t you? So apply the same approach to the grocery store. Target the sections that are safe to browse through — the produce section, primarily — and steer clear of the dangerous sections (the candy, ice cream, and potato chip aisles).
4. Shop with a list. Organize your shopping list based on the tip above — that is, by the sections of the store. This will have you out of the supermarket at the speed of light. Shopping with a list has benefits beyond speed and spending. By lashing yourself to the discipline of a well-planned shopping list, you can resist the seductive call of aisle upon aisle of junk food, thereby saving your home, your family, and yourself from an overload of empty calories. My list SAVES me! Seriously, make one!
5. Food-shop with a full stomach. I'm sure you’ve heard this one before, but it’s worth repeating. Walking through the grocery store with your tummy growling can make you vulnerable to buying anything that isn’t moving. If you can’t arrange to shop shortly after a meal, be sure to eat an apple and drink a large glass of water before heading into the store.
6. Choose prepared foods with short ingredient lists. I don’t expect you to cut out prepared foods entirely. Just remember: The shorter the ingredient list, the healthier the food usually is. Of course, if the ingredients are sugar and butter, put the item back on the shelf.
Ok, so I wanted to get some tomato paste to make chili. For some reason I was under the impression that tomato paste was.....wait for it.....JUST TOMATOES. Not so my friends! Good thing I checked the label! Look at the difference! What is all of this crap??

7. Reject foods and drinks made with corn syrup. Corn syrup is a calorie-dense, nutritionally empty sweetener perhaps even worse than refined sugar. A shocking number of foods and drinks are thick with it, including such apparently healthy foods as fruit juices, premade spaghetti sauces, and even bread. Some experts argue that corn syrup is one of the main causes of America’s obesity problem. If a food has corn syrup in its first four ingredients, then it lacks the wholesomeness and healthiness you want. Eeek! Even the name gives me the hee-bee jeebies!
8. Confirm that a wheat bread is whole wheat. Some of the folks selling bread are trying to pull the wool (or is it wheat chaff?) over your eyes. Sure, a wheat bread is made from wheat. But if the first ingredient is refined wheat flour, then it’s made from the same wheat as white bread — which means, stripped of fiber and nutrients, and in some cases, dyed brown for a fake healthy appearance. What you’re really looking for are the words “100% whole wheat.” That’s the stuff with minimum refining and maximum beneficial nutrients. Sneaky marketing can get ya!