Put your best fork forward at the grocery store this National Nutrition Month with help from the experts at BWFH
March is National Nutrition Month and this year’s theme is “Put Your Best Fork Forward.” It is an important time of year to think about the food choices we make every day.
Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital’s Outpatient and Community Liaison Dietitian Allie Lang, RDN, LDN, says many of the food decisions we make take place in the grocery store. “Without healthy shopping habits, it is impossible to follow a healthy lifestyle,” she explains. “The grocery store can be daunting with all of its aisles, advertisements and packaging. It is easy to get overwhelmed when trying to come up with healthy meals and find wholesome ingredients. The time and money invested in food shopping can be aggravating to say the least. That is why I have compiled a list of strategies to make shopping healthy, easier and more affordable.”
Never shop hungry. When you’re hungry, you’re more likely to think with your stomach instead of your brain. A small snack beforehand will work to curb cravings.
Go with a plan. Think ahead and make a shopping list. Come up with meals you will be making for the week and what ingredients you’ll need. This will save you time and money!
Stick to your shopping list. Try to buy only the items that you absolutely need. That way you’ll avoid any unhealthy impulse buys. This also helps you avoid food waste.
Shop the perimeter of the store first. The perimeter is where all of the whole foods are. Whole foods are unprocessed and therefore contain less added salt and sugar. Venture into the aisles only for essential items.
Read food labels. Aim for items with less sodium, saturated fat and sugar. Avoid products with hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup. Choose foods with more fiber.
Choose foods with fewer ingredients. As a general rule, foods with fewer ingredients are less processed.
Avoid “Rush Hour.” Waiting in long lines means more time staring at the candy and soda at the cash registers.
Buy seasonal fruits and vegetables. Pick the fruits and vegetables that are currently in season. This will ensure they taste their best and they’ll be more affordable.
Visit the freezer section. Frozen fruits and vegetables are just as nutritious as fresh ones and they’re priced lower! Just make sure they don’t have added salt or sugar.
“Grocery shopping doesn’t have to be a dreaded errand if done right!” says Lang. “With these simple tips you can save money and time while shopping healthier. Remember, making small, consistent changes makes a big difference in the long run. I hope you can use these strategies to ‘Put Your Best Fork Forward’ this National Nutrition Month, and for the years to come.”
Need more advice when it comes to eating right? Contact Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital’s Nutrition Clinic at 617-983-4455 to schedule an appointment with a registered dietitian.