Shopping for groceries can be an excellent or scary experience for some people depending on their conditions. For instance, people who are not physically fit need to do healthy grocery shopping. But, unfortunately, they usually do not know where to start in the grocery store. Sometimes, they are also confused about which food should be included in their grocery cart and which should not.
Furthermore, there are seemingly limitless food varieties available that often show in fraudulent packaging. Thus, people often face difficulties determining which foods are the best choice and healthier ones placed on the shelf.
This article will help you to get the basics understanding of healthy grocery shopping. It includes choosing nutritious foods, making a budget-friendly smart shopping list, and stocking to cut grocery shopping every day.
Shopping tips: Before going to the grocery store
People who go grocery shopping without thinking about what they will cook for the coming week or without making a list usually experience difficulties while shopping.
Making a weekly menu or grocery list is the best idea for people who do not know where to start shopping.
Making a healthy grocery list
In general, a well-rounded, healthy diet plan should entirely include nutritious foods. These foods are fruits, nuts, vegetables, seeds, beans, and protein sources, such as fish and eggs.
Your shopping list should comprise several separate sections. For example, they could be starchy and non-starchy vegetables, beans and cereals, fruits, milk, protein, spices, nuts and seeds, frozen foods, beverages, and miscellaneous items.
Here is an example of some of the nutritious foods that a healthy grocery shopping should have, such as:
- Fruits: Clementines, apples, grapefruits, avocados, and blueberries
- Starchy vegetables: Baby red potatoes, butternut squash, and sweet potatoes
- Non Starchy vegetables: Spinach, broccoli, onions, asparagus, zucchini, and peppers
- Grains and beans: Brown rice, quinoa, black beans, and chickpeas
- Frozen foods: Frozen kale and frozen mixed berries
- Proteins: Pea protein powder, canned salmon, skin-on chicken breast, and eggs
- Non Dairy and dairy substitutes: Feta cheese, coconut milk, full-fat Greek yogurt, and cashew milk
- Seeds and nuts: Natural peanut butter, pumpkin seeds, and roasted almonds
- Drinks: Sweet, less sparkling water and coconut water
- Condiments: Salad dressing, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, olive oil, salsa, and pesto
- Miscellaneous: Shredded unsweetened coconut dried fruit, ground coffee, banana plantain chips, and dark chocolate
The best way of food storage
If you do not prefer to visit a grocery store frequently, store your foods like frozen and unbearable items. It will make you able to prepare nutritious snacks and food even when you do not shop daily.
Before going to the store, always check your pantry, cupboards, freezer, and fridge to make the necessary inventory. It can reduce food waste and ensure that you have all the required ingredients to prepare healthy foods.
Additionally, you need to buy fresh foods and other unpreserved items more frequently than frozen unbearable foods, such as fresh fruits, dairy products, and vegetables. This is because it will improve the storage duration of the foods.
The main ideas for long-lasting storage are the pantry and freezer. Some foods items that can store are as follows:
- Nuts, nut butter, and seeds: Natural almond butter, pistachios, almonds, and cashews. Note: Do not forget to store some natural nut butter in the refrigerator after opening the pack. Nuts ideally should be stored in the freezer to keep them fresh for a long time.
- Grains: Brown rice, quinoa, oats, brown rice pasta, and buckwheat
- Oils: Avocado oil, olive oil, and coconut oil
- Spices: Turmeric, garlic powder, cumin, curry powder, cinnamon, and paprika
- Unsweetened dried fruits: raisins, dried mango, dried cherries, and dates
- Dried beans and canned: Lentils, black beans, and chickpeas
- Sweeteners and items for baking: Baking soda, baking powder, maple syrup, cocoa powder, honey, vanilla extract, and flour blends. Note: If you want to store flour for a long time, keep it in the freezer.
- Salmon and canned tuna: Wild Planet canned tuna and salmon
- Shelf-stable milk substitutes Elmhurst cashew milk, coconut milk, and oat milk,
- Snack foods: Chocolate-covered almonds trail mix, tortilla chips, and banana plantain chips.
- Dressings, sauces, and condiments: Primal Kitchen salad dressing unsweetened marinara sauce, mayo, sun-dried tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, olives, hot sauce, and apple cider vinegar.
- Long-term produce: Onions, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, potatoes, and garlic.
- Miscellaneous: Dark chocolate chips, coffee, unsweetened dried coconut, chicken and vegetable broth, pea protein powder, and coconut water.
- Frozen fruits and veggies: broccoli, cherries, mango, berries, edamame, spinach, riced cauliflower, and peas
- Grain-free flours, nuts, and flours: Store nut-based flour, nuts, and flour in the freezer for a long-term storage
- Protein sources: Chicken sausages, chicken, ground turkey, and wild-caught salmon
- Bread: Sourdough and Ezekiel bread
Storing long-lasting items, such as frozen fruit and canned beans, in your freezer and pantry can help reduce visiting a grocery store. A well-stocked kitchen also ensures the availability of all necessary ingredients to prepare a healthy meal or snack. But one thing to keep in mind is to always check the inventory before shopping to avoid purchasing already stored items.
Tips for the healthy grocery shopping
After understanding how to make a grocery shopping list and storing foods, move to the healthy grocery shopping tips.
People would ideally like to pay attention to the following when going for groceries shopping:
- Shopping off according to the weekly meal plan or prepared list
- Buying most of the nutrient-dense, whole foods
- Having a look at the ingredient lists and nutrition labels of the packaged items
- Avoiding exclusively packaging-based foods to buy
- Trying to avoid instinct shopping and sticking to the weekly plan
Unfortunately, most grocery stores do not encourage buying healthy foods. In contrast, they invite customers to purchase only certain foods that are not always healthy.
For example, they display ads of ultra-processed food products, such as soft drinks and refined snack foods, at the grocery store.
However, these displays and sales can never distract you if you have a well-organized shopping plan. So try to stick to an already prepared shopping plan.
How to read labels
Just because something is packaged does not mean it would be unhealthy. However, it is the best idea to look at the ingredients labels and check the nutritional details of packaged items.
Although highly processed unhealthy foods often have a long ingredients table, the same can also be true for some healthy packaged foods. That is why you need to read ingredient labels before going to buy something or leave it.
Pay good attention to the sugar content of the packaged item. Sugar is very high amounts may harm overall health and improve the risk of various health conditions. These include mental health disorders, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
For example, some pre-made tea latte items may surprisingly contain around eight teaspoons (31 grams) of extra sugar per three-fourth cup (180 ml) of tea in a serving. However, it should be below the 1.5 teaspoons (6 grams) of sugar for sugary foods products.
What should a healthy grocery shopping cart have?
A healthy grocery shopping cart should be full of nutrient-dense foods. Here is an example of a healthy grocery:
- Non Starchy vegetables: Asparagus, garlic, cauliflower, broccoli, onions, sweet peppers, greens, mushrooms, leeks, and bell peppers
- Starchy vegetables: winter squash, potatoes, and sweet potatoes
- Fruits: Oranges, apples, bananas, pineapple, grapefruit, blueberries, lemons, and avocados
- Legumes and grains: Dried black beans, oats, barley, quinoa, brown rice, red lentils, buckwheat, and farro
- Proteins: Fish, ground turkey, eggs, tofu, and chicken
- Nuts, nut butter, and seeds: natural peanut butter, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, and almonds
- Condiments and oils: salad dressing, honey, olive oil, salsa, apple cider vinegar, avocado oil, dried spices, balsamic vinegar, and maple syrup
- Canned foods: Sardines, marinara sauce, canned salmon, canned beans, diced tomatoes, and canned pumpkin puree
- Non-dairy and dairy products: Cheddar cheese, cashew milk, full-fat Greek yogurt, coconut yogurt, and goat cheese
- Snack foods: Trail mix, dark chocolate chips, hummus, and unsweetened dried fruit,
- Frozen foods: Frozen shrimp, frozen raspberries, Ezekiel bread, and frozen kale
- Beverages: Ground coffee, herbal tea bags, and unsweetened seltzer
This list is not conclusive or exhaustive, but it can serve as a generic example for healthy grocery shopping.
The bottom line is that healthy grocery shopping should be stress-less and pre-planned. A complete grocery shopping guide must include creating a weekly meal plan list, taking kitchen inventory, storing the essential items in the pantry and freezer, and listing healthy foods items.
Always use sealing bags or staples for long-lasting storage that can make your shopping more pleasant and more accessible. Do not forget to follow all the above tips discussed in this article for healthy grocery shopping. I hope that these tips make your shopping easy and pleasant. Additionally, stocking tips will further help you protect foods from wasting. Subsequently, you may not need to visit the grocery store daily if you follow them.