6 tips for healthy food shopping

Eating healthier is something we should all aspire to, but for many of us it is much easier said than done.

Due to our busy schedules and commitments, it can be difficult to find the time to prepare healthier meals, make the effort to shop or know the best way forward to improve our diets.

Healthy eating starts with choosing the right ingredients but when you’re grocery shopping, it’s easy to become distracted by convenient ready meals and pre-packaged goods that might look good but may not contain the nutrients our bodies need.

If you are looking to lose weight or make better diet choices, you might want to keep a few healthy food shopping tricks to hand which will help you to get the most out of every shopping trip.

1. Make a shopping list

Before you head to the supermarket or grocery store, plan out your meals for the week and create a shopping list.

It only takes a few minutes but it saves you running back to the store for forgotten items and it also ensures that you’re going to buy fresh, healthy produce in the knowledge you will make the most of it in your recipes.

To save money, make use of coupons, voucher codes, keep up to date with the store’s weekly offers and use reduced price foods in your meal planning.

Also, don’t shop when hungry. Food shopping on an empty stomach often leads to impulse buys that may not be the healthiest.

2. Stick to the perimeter

Healthier produce such as fruits and vegetables, dairy, meat and fish are usually located in the aisles on the edge of the store, so these are the places you should be spending most of your time.

Avoid the centre aisles as these are home to junk foods and other products that lack the nutritional value of the fresh goods.

3. Stock up on canned goods

The middle of the supermarket isn’t a complete no-go area; it’s home to the canned foods aisle which can play an important part in your meal planning.

Many shoppers overlook this aisle as they don’t realise that canned fruits and vegetables can be just as nutritious as fresh and frozen.

Canned foods are great if you are looking to add nutrients to your meals but may be struggling for fresh options.

4. Read the labels

Just because the front of a package looks good, it doesn’t mean that what’s inside necessarily is.

Bypass the front of the package and focus your attention on the nutrition facts panels and ingredients lists. If you are looking to increase your protein or fibre intake, the nutrition facts panel can be a good place to check for nutrients and can make the process of comparing products much easier.

However, when using them, make sure to check the serving size to ensure it’s a reasonable portion for you. If not, you may have to halve or double the portions you’re trying to add or reduce.

5. Shop seasonal

Fruits and vegetables which are in season are usually more nutritious and tasty. They’re also more abundant too, so there’ll be cheaper than their out-of-season counterparts.

For example, corn on the cob during the summer is usually more commonly found than butternut squash, which will be more expensive than it would be in the winter months.

6. Steer clear of bulk

If you are looking to maintain control over the foods you eat, bulk buying might be best avoided. Many stores offer goods in bulk quantities, which can seem like a good deal for your wallet.

However, having larger quantities of food lying around can make it easier to overeat.

If you do buy bulk produce, consider packaging it in smaller, single-serve containers once you’re home to ensure you use just enough for what you need.