It’s no secret that the success of any diet is determined largely by the food you put into your body, but selecting the right foods can be challenging if you don’t have a good plan in place. To take some of the frustration out of transforming your diet and overall lifestyle, start by paying attention to the way you shop for food. In this post, you will discover 9 simple things you can do when shopping for health food products.
1. Don’t Hit the Grocery Store at Rush Hour
When you are grocery shopping, you want to allot yourself the appropriate amount of time and peace of mind to get all of the right foods. Avoid hitting the supermarket on a Saturday morning or right after work on a weekday. Do your grocery shopping at an hour when the store will be less crowded, and you will have more flexibility to shop for the foods you know you need, rather than haphazardly throwing random (and most likely unhealthy) products into your shopping cart.
2. Don’t Rule Out Cheap Food
When most people hear “cheap food,” they usually think of greasy fast food or frozen meals. But if you consider that products such as beans and rice are some of the cheapest foods you can find, it might change your perspective a bit. Venture into the grocery aisles that have extremely affordable products such as lentils, quinoa, and rice—you may be surprised at the prices! When you opt for plain, affordable foods over processed alternatives, your diet will become substantially healthier.
3. Read the Ingredients
You have probably heard sound advice to read the labels on food products before purchasing them, but that’s not the only thing you should do. In addition to checking the nutritional label, make sure you read the list of ingredients too. Many food products that claim to be natural or sugar-free alternatives are loaded with other harmful ingredients. Make note of ingredients that you don’t recognize and look them up when you get home or on your phone while you’re shopping. Familiarity with more ingredient names and types will make it easier to identify which ones are unhealthy and which are safe for you to eat.
4. Start Buying Your Food in Bulk
Purchase non-perishable items such as rice and quinoa in bulk. Not only will you save an impressive amount on your monthly grocery bill, you will also have healthier food options stored away in your kitchen at all times. Some healthy foods you can buy in bulk include canned fish (such as salmon or tuna), dried fruits, grains, dried beans, raw nuts, and whole-wheat or gluten-free pasta. You can also buy chicken and vegetables in bulk if you plan to freeze them.
5. Search for Products with Fewer Ingredients
As a general rule of thumb, you should avoid any food products that are loaded with an inordinate amount of ingredients. It is also safe to say that if you don’t recognize many of those ingredients, they are likely not going to be good for your health. The fewer ingredients in your food, the better off you will be.
6. Stay Clear of MSG
Keep your eyes peeled for that sneaky MSG listing in ingredient labels. Generally, if a food item would normally contain MSG but does not, this will be stated quite prominently on the label. If the product does contain MSG, it should be listed in the ingredients but may appear under another name such as monosodium glutamate, glutamic acid, or autolyzed yeast. MSG is a flavoring that was used in Japan to enhance foods until people caught the link between headaches and MSG and removed this flavoring from their menus. However, this ingredient is still used regularly in the United States and many other food manufacturers still include it in their products. Be wary of purchasing anything that includes MSG.
7. Use a Smaller Shopping Cart
Use a smaller shopping cart or a basket when you are at the grocery store. When you shop with less room in your cart, you will be forced to reconsider certain food items that you probably don’t need, and you’ll better prioritize the foods that will be most beneficial to your health.
8. Don’t Enter the Grocery Store Without a List
Make a list and check it twice. When you enter the grocery store prepared and equipped with a list of healthy food choices, you will waste less time in the store, save more money, and be certain that you are getting the right food products. Don’t be afraid to change up your list from time to time and include new items to add more flavor to your diet (while still keeping it healthy). Study online and find some different all-natural health recipes to add to your repertoire, then add the ingredients of those recipes to your shopping list.
9. Ask for Recommendations
Do you have some health-conscious friends? Ask them what they buy when they are grocery shopping. When you first begin changing your diet, you may feel stumped or frustrated with the seeming lack of variety and flavors available to you. If you have friends who have been maintaining healthy diets for quite some time, ask them what they shop for. Even better, schedule a time to go grocery shopping with a friend to get suggestions and make the shopping experience more fun and informative.
For more tips on shopping for health food products and transforming not only your diet but your lifestyle, contact us today. We are passionate about helping people lead the healthiest, longest, and most beautiful lives possible.