I have a confession to make… trying to find a balance between frugality and healthy, especially when it comes to groceries, has not been easy. I enjoy the convenience of canned foods but I’ve also become more mindful about reading labels. I have to be mindful about labels because of my migraines. And I can definitely feel the difference when I have foods that are packed with preservatives and artificial flavors. But, I also don’t have an unlimited grocery budget to be able to afford the healthy food that I would love to have in my daily diet. So how do I grocery shop for health while still staying in my budget? Here are a few easy ways for healthier grocery shopping that we’ve started doing. Hopefully they can help you as well.
What Makes Healthy Food Healthy?
First, it helps to be mindful about what’s healthy at the grocery store. Aside from the obvious like fresh fruits and vegetables, what else would you consider to be healthy? Do you really know what is healthy food?
We all try and stick to choosing healthy items when grocery shopping or eating out, but how well do we really know our foods? Discover how to find out about reading between the lines, what to look out for in labels and how to dine out healthily.
When shopping in your local supermarket, it’s very easy to be attracted to colorful aisles filled with chips and chocolates. It can sometimes take a lot of will power to resist grabbing a few treats…especially if you are food shopping on an empty stomach!
So the logical choice is to head for the aisles that sell ‘healthy’ food. But how genuinely healthy is the food that you are buying? It looks healthy, it sounds healthy, but you may actually find that it contains ‘hidden’ fats, salts and sugars. In short, anything BUT healthy!
Fat free? Sugar free? Calorie free?
Phrases such as ‘fat free’ and sugar free’ sound great in theory, but a closer inspection may be needed. A claim such as ‘fat free’ usually means that in order for the item to be ‘fat free’, something else has to be added to make it taste edible.
So check the label at the back to see what has been added to make up for the lack of fat. The product could be significantly high in sugar, and so, even if the product is fat free, it will probably be packed full of calories. The same goes for products boasting a low number of calories or no sugar at all. Again, check the back label because the fat content may be very high.
Also check to see whether the nutritional information relates to the portion size or if it’s per 100g. When cooking a meal, think in terms of portion size to get a better idea of how much fat and calories each person will really be consuming.
10 Easy Ways For Healthier Grocery Shopping
1. Never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach.
2. Select canned fruits and tuna that are packed in water, not oil or syrup.
3. Look at the labels for the words “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated”. The earlier you see them appear on the list, the higher the amount of unhealthy trans fatty acids the food will contain.
4. Don’t buy turkey with the skin on it, and if you plan to buy chicken – buy a chicken breast meal.
5. When you select frozen dinners, select those that are not only low in fat, but low in sodium and cholesterol as well.
6. If you aren’t consuming enough dairy products, go with calcium fortified orange juice instead.
7. Go for whole grain breads, cereals, and rolls.
8. Give cantaloupe a try. With just 95 calories, half of the melon will provide more than a day’s supply of Vitamin C and beta carotene.
9. Don’t be tricked into buying yogurt covered by nuts or raisins, as the coating is normally made of sugar and partially hydrogenated oils.
10. Get some of the low fat treats, such as pretzels, ginger snaps, and angel food cake.
Those are just a few simple ways. What tips do you have for healthy grocery shopping on a budget?