Smart shopping

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Fill your cart with healthy options

When you make healthy choices at the grocery store, it's easier to keep making them every day at home. Arm yourself with these smart shopping tricks to avoid supermarket temptations.

Before you go

Woman shopping at a grocery storePlan your meals first.
List what you will eat and drink for each meal over the next week. If you are using recipes, check to see which ingredients you have already and what you need to buy.

Stock up on healthy sides and snacks.
Smart snacks like nuts and fresh or frozen fruit are quick and easy. And don't forget lots of vegetables that you can snack on raw, or steam, roast, or stir-fry. Whole grains, such as brown rice, bulgur, and quinoa also make deliciously healthy sides.

Organize your list by food type.
Organizing your grocery list by food types not only makes it easier to shop efficiently, it also makes it easier to skip the junk food aisles.

For example, you could organize your list like this:

  • fresh fruits and vegetables
  • whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes 
  • canned goods
  • frozen foods
  • meat, fish, and poultry
  • dairy and eggs

What's in store?

Avoid the bakery section.
To boost sales, stores make sure shoppers can smell the cakes and cookies in their bakery section. They may be fresh, but they're full of sugar, fat, and empty calories. Head for the pre-packaged whole-grain breads instead.

Don't shop hungry.
If your stomach is growling, you are more likely to buy unhealthy foods (and too much of them). Shop after a meal, or eat a small healthy snack before you go.

Look high and low.
Tempting items are often placed at eye level on the supermarket shelves. Check out the items higher and lower on the shelves, which can be better choices and less expensive, too.

Stick to the edges.
Try to shop around the outside aisles of the grocery store, where the fresh produce, dairy, and meat are usually found. Go down the other aisles only if you need a specific item from your list.

Reviewed by: Carole Bartolotto, MA, RD, April 2016
Additional Kaiser Permanente reviewers

© 2016 Kaiser Permanente

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