9 Tips for better, easier food shopping
You're in control in the grocery store aisles-
Dr. Jingwen Huang obtained her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Nutrition and Food Science at Florida State University in 2018.
The best ways to fill your grocery cart
You can make grocery shopping healthier for your family and easier / less frustrating for you. That's because some simple ideas can guide you:
- If healthy food is in the pantry, they can't choose something you don't want them to eat. You're doing the shopping. Just because your son craves a bag of chips and a large sports drink, that doesn't mean you have to buy it. When parents say their child isn't eating healthy foods, I ask "who's doing the shopping?"
- If there isn't room for the fruits and vegetables they need, they shouldn't have room for junk food either. Everyone should get at least 5 fistfuls of fruits and vegetables daily (that's combined), before they are offered any chips, cookies or the like.
- Buy and offer fish, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products.
- Notice that those foods are around the walls of every grocery—so you can "shop the perimeter" of the store.
- Buy frozen fruits and vegetables when your favorites are out of season or learn to can and store your own when they are at their peak, so you'll have them all year.
- Buy brands and products you trust. And don't give in to advertising and labels that claim health benefits. All fruits and vegetables are gluten free, for example—labeling them that way is simply to try to get your food dollars. Enriched flour is misleading.
- Read the ingredients. Not just if you have allergies. But to see what you are buying—and even then, you should look up the ingredients if you have a question. Maltodextrin is in 60% of processed foods. Did you know it's a type of sugar?
- Skip the soda and juice aisles, and find fruits and / or flavor drops to add to water.
- Don't shop when you're hungry. It's been shown that you add foods to your cart-often ones that aren't as healthful.
- If the kids complain about not having the snack foods around, or when you bypass a fast food restaurant instead of stopping, use the opportunity for a "nutrition moment" to teach the kids about healthier eating and better choices. They may not like it at the time, but they may thank you later, and hopefully, you'll have the satisfaction of having a healthier, more engaged family.
- If you have any doubts, take a look at your cart. Maybe you can replace some processed foods with the healthy foods on the perimeter.
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