Taking a trip to the grocery store can feel like you need a PhD to figure out what to buy.
Which foods are the healthiest?
Organic? Gluten-free? Keto? Before long, a simple errand starts to feel like a pop quiz you aren’t prepared for.
The good news?
Shopping for healthy foods doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming. We’ll share some simple tips to help you stock your cart like a champ.
A Nutritionist's 4 Tips for Shopping Healthier
1. Choose More Foods Without A Nutrition Label.
This simple rule will steer you toward the healthiest foods in the store.
Have you ever seen a nutrition label on a sweet potato?
While there are some minor exceptions, you’ll find that most fresh produce and seafood, spices, tea and coffee do not contain labels.
This means these foods don’t have any additional artificial ingredients or additives. Most of the foods in this category are also plant based.
This matters because eating more phytochemicals, which are found only in plant based foods, dramatically up our odds of living longer, healthier lives.
Choosing more foods without labels is an easy hack to increase the amount of fresh, whole foods in your diet.
2. Choose The Least Processed Versions Of Your Favorite Foods.
We can’t deny that some processing is essential for our sanity. Think of all that time we’re saving by not growing and milling our own flour!
The problem arises when foods are over processed and key nutrients are removed and replaced with extra sugar, salt, and other ingredients.
Eating a diet high in heavily processed foods can leave our bodies over-nourished calorie wise but otherwise starving for essential nutrients.
One simple way to tell if your food is highly processed is to check the ingredient label and see how long the list is.
Select products with fewer ingredients.
Next time you’re at the store, try getting real potatoes instead of instant. Or sneak whole wheat white flour into your baked goods instead of white flour. Choose fresh fruit and nuts instead of fruit snacks and chips.
The possibilities are limitless and each shift brings you closer to a more nourished and better functioning body.
3. Look For Foods With Fewer Added Sugars.
For context, one small container of flavored yogurt contains about 7 grams (almost 2 teaspoons) added sugar!
Note: natural sugars found in unsweetened dairy products, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans are not harmful to our health. As mentioned above, many of these plant-based foods that also happen to be natural sources of sugars provide unique health benefits.
4. Choose Organic Options...Sometimes.
Regardless of which diet you follow, use this list to help you figure out which types of foods deserve more room in your cart. Don’t get so hung up on food rules that you neglect the basics.
Shopping for healthier foods does not need to be complicated or time consuming if you keep these simple principles in mind.