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Tips for Shopping to Keep your Health on Track

by Michele on November 8, 2012

One of the biggest battles of healthy eating is shopping healthy.  No matter how often we swear we’ll be able to eat just one Lays chip, looking down and finding half the bag has mysteriously vanished while we were innocently eating our one chip is more the norm than most of us would like to admit. It’s almost as if  having unhealthy foods around is the unspoken equivalent of telling ourselves it’s alright to eat them.

By shopping smart, however, we can help eliminate this problem from the beginning.

When heading to the grocery store, beware of hidden calories and sugars. Processed food items of all types – from soup to  cereal – may be masquerading as “healthy” and “natural” alternatives, when they’re actually filled with preservatives or artificial ingredients. In the past, flashy colors and bright packages were clearly items to avoid;  but as the trend of eating healthy continues to rise, food manufacturers are now targeting shoppers with buzzwords and calmer hued packaging.

Be on the lookout for labels with vague or cover-all terms such as “other natural ingredients,” or “contains less than…” These terms are perfectly legal for food companies to use, but don’t necessarily provide the best information for consumers.  Instead, opt for products containing a full list of ingredients or read 100% organic – which means exactly what it says. That way, you’ll get exactly what you’re expecting…nothing more…nothing less.

Obviously, fruits, veggies, nuts, dry grains, eggs and clearly labeled organic meats are other safe options.

Tips for Shopping Healthy

Shop the Perimeter

Most grocery stores are organized with fresh fruits/vegetables, dairy cases, meats and breads around the outside perimeter and processed / boxed foods lining interior aisles. While you’ll still need to check labels and “shop smart,” cruising the perimeter can be a good way to keep your shopping in check.

Know Your Store

At some point, you may have to venture into the land-mine that can be the interior aisles.  If you know your store and are able to pass right by the chip aisle on the way to grab those dried black beans, you’ll have much less temptation.

Avoid End Caps and Seasonal Sections

These areas are often used for treat items and often won’t contain healthy options. A good rule to observe – if an end cap doesn’t offer a product you’d buy anyway – stay away.

Leave the Kids at Home

It’s much easier to only have to manage your own willpower.  A four year-old with the best sad puppy eyes looking yearningly at a box of blue and green cereal  is much harder to resist!

Don’t Shop Hungry

Eat a snack before shopping if necessary. Cruising the aisles with a grumbling stomach can lead to an array of questionable purchase decisions.

Finally, just because unhealthy snacking isn’t a no-no, that doesn’t mean healthy snacking is off limits as well. Pick up berries, nuts, or even baked pretzels to help get through that 3:00 pm slump or movie night without munching down chips and candy.

Bottom line – what you have on hand is what you’ll eat. By sticking to healthy habits up front, you’ll create healthier ones on a daily basis – especially when in a pinch. Remember to shop smart to help keep your eating habits healthy and under control!

Photo Credit

Visit  EASupply.com, your source for professional and quality kitchen equipment.

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