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7 Tips to Shop Healthy at the Grocery Store

It can be easy to get distracted in the grocery store by sales, advertisements and product placement, buy foods you don’t need and (possibly) spend too much. What we buy in the grocery store is so important because it represents the foods most available to us at home!

Today, we’ll talk about some tips for grocery shopping to help you stay on track and only buy what you need on your grocery trip!

Shop the Perimeter First

  • All of the freshest foods (produce, meat/poultry, seafood, eggs, milk and dairy) are kept on the perimeter of the grocery store, while packaged and more processed foods are kept in the aisles. Start on the perimeter, and only go in the aisles to get items you need.

Shop a for “Healthy Plate”

  • You might have heard of the portion plate – Filling your plate to build a healthy meal with ½ plate of vegetables, ¼ plate of carbohydrates, ¼ plate of protein. Sometimes, dairy and fruit are included on the side.
  • Keep this concept in mind while you’re shopping: Outside of kitchen staples, the about half of what you buy should come from produce. This sets you up for a week full of meals where half your plate comes from vegetables!

Is That Really on Sale?

  • Sometimes we get sucked into buying something we weren’t planning on because it’s on sale. However, sometimes these sales amount to $0.30 off of the original price. Make sure to check what the original price on the product was and revisit whether it’s worth the extra purchase.

Watch for Product Placement

  • Grocery stores often place products near each other can be eaten together to increase sales. It’s important to recognize these tactics to avoid impulse purchases.
  • The best way to recognize product placements is that these foods are often in the wrong section – For example, dipping chocolates and caramels beside the apple aisle.

You don’t have to buy all 10 for $10

  • Reading the sale tags closely can help you save a lot of money! Grocery stores often have promotions for buying multiple items for less – in most cases, you can actually still buy an individual item for that discounted price.
  • A sale tag saying “2 for $5 (or $2.50 each)” means the discount applies to individual items as well bundled purchases.
  • A sale tag saying “2 for $5, or $2.99 each) – this means the discount doesn’t apply to individual items.

Identify your “trigger food”

  • Almost everyone has that one food they will definitely eat if it’s in the house. Often it’s also challenging to eat just one serving!
  • The easiest thing to do with these foods is simply not buy them on a regular basis – not having these foods in the house is the best barrier to giving in to cravings.

Don’t go hungry + Stick to your list

  • Grocery lists are extremely helpful to help stay focused and stick to what you need at the grocery store. Make sure you have a list, bring it, and stick to it!
  • Grocery shopping hungry can often mean that we have more cravings, make more impulse purchases and end up with more foods that we weren’t planning on. Plan do to your grocery shopping soon after a regular meal or snack to avoid going too hungry!

Written by Lauren Knipping, MSc RD

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We’re a team of devoted dietitians who embrace the science behind healthy eating, and the crucial role your own body chemistry plays. When you need to know what eating well means to you, we’ll provide the what, why and how.

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