Am I getting older or is the supermarket playing great music? I wonder about things like this as I cruise the aisles of my local grocery store. Grocery stores have thousands of products, with most food items grouped together to make your grocery store experience easier. Healthy food choices are important for good health and well-being. Consider building a healthy diet with smart shopping.
Healthy decisions start at home.
Let MyPlate be your grocery shopping planning guide. The MyPlate Daily Checklist shows your food group targets – what and how much to eat within your calorie allowance. The key is choosing a variety of foods and beverages from each food group and making sure that each choice is limited in saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars.
Shopping tips for eating healthy for less:
- Determine how much money you have for food. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach has a grocery budget calculator based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s low-cost food plan.
- Plan your meals and snacks for the week ahead.
- Before shopping, check your kitchen to see what you have on hand in your refrigerator, freezer and cupboards.
- Prepare a grocery list; it will help you manage your budget and avoid impulse buying. Organize the list according to the store layout.
- Clip coupons only for foods on your grocery list. If you have children, ask them to help you with this.
- Don’t shop when you’re hungry or rushed.
- Compare cost of items in the store using unit pricing (cost per unit, ounce, pound, etc.).
- Choose fresh fruits and vegetables in season. Frozen and canned fruits are available through the year and have similar nutrition values compared to fresh.
- Read Nutrition Facts labels as you shop to compare foods. Pay attention to serving size and servings per container.
- Know what you’re buying. The ingredients are listed in order, from the most to the least amount in the product.
- Plan to do the preparation work yourself. Examples include making your own meat patties, slicing your own kabob chunks, and cooking meats yourself to reduce costs.
- Consider using batch-cooking. Cook a large amount of food, divide it into family-size portions, and freeze them for meals later.
If you grocery shop with your children, treat it as a fun activity. Teach them to look for healthy choices by letting them pick out their favorite fruits or vegetables. The grocery store is the perfect place for inspiring your children to enjoy cooking.
Don’t forget that your local farmers market is a great place for finding healthy foods. Find a farmers market near you using the National Farmers Market Directory provided by the USDA.
- United States Department of Agriculture. Build a Healthy Diet with Smart Shopping. 2011.
- United States Department of Agriculture. Shop Smart to Fill Your Cart.