Good nutrition starts with smart choices in the grocery store, but making the right choices can be overwhelming and daunting. There are temptations to throw you off in each aisle, and literally thousands of options to decide between. I head into the store with a game plan and stick to it whether I’m heading in for a couple essentials or a full haul.
Here are the grocery shopping rules I live by, that guarantee a healthier home:
- SHOP THE PERIMETER. This saying was made famous by Michael Pollan (who I love) and it’s one that I live by. The fresh and more nutritious food, including produce, fish, dairy and meat, line the perimeter of the grocery store. This is primarily where I shop because by sticking to the perimeter, I fill my cart with REAL food and avoid the chemicals/processed food lurking in the center aisles.
- REAL FOOD. If there is anything written on the label which I don’t understand, it probably shouldn’t go into my body. As a general rule of thumb, if there are ingredients I can’t pronounce, I don’t buy it. Or as Michael Pollan puts it, “Don’t eat anything your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.”
- ORGANIC. I only buy organic, and if there isn’t an organic option of what I need, I skip it. This is obviously pretty strict and buying as much organic as possible is probably more realistic; however, if you don’t do this already, it’s something to strive for. Also, most restaurants don’t serve organic food which means we’re ingesting free radicals and toxins (pesticides, additives, etc.) often.
- LOCAL. It’s easier to shop local at the farmer’s market, and I do as often as I can for community, environment, economic and health reasons. The shorter the time between the farm and your table, the less likely it is that nutrients will be lost from fresh food.
- SUSTAINABLE FISH. When buying fish, I try to buy “wild caught” and what’s sustainable (I use the Seafood Watch app for recommendations)
- NOTHING PROCESSED. I don’t buy anything that has been altered from its natural state in some way (more info here).
What grocery shopping rules do you swear by?