Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Hint #8: Shop on the Perimeter of the Grocery Store

Have you ever paid attention to the layout of the grocery store?

Most of the fresh, whole foods line the outside, while the processed and packaged items fill the aisles.

My challenge to you this week is simple: Shop on the perimeter of the grocery store. I know what you're thinking ... "eating healthy is expensive!" Not always. Here are my suggestions for filling up your cart.

1. Begin with fresh produce. Fill up on as many fresh fruits and vegetables as you can. They make great snacks throughout the day and are the perfect complement to any meal. To save money, look for bargains. Check the store ad ahead of time so you know which items are on sale. When I buy apples, the lowest priced variety wins its way into my cart. Apply that same rule to berries, salad greens, and other fruits and vegetables.

2. Scan the meat section. Choose lean meats over red meat, whenever possible. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, ground turkey breast, tilapia, salmon, and pork loin are just a few lean options. Watch out for lunch meats - they can be packed with sodium. Check the label to make sure you aren't filling up on unwanted salt.

3. Visit the dairy area.
Avoid butters and margarines when possible. Instead, choose low-fat yogurts (be wary of added sugars), and low-fat or non-fat milks. Eggs and egg substitutes are excellent options here as well.

4. Check out the frozen fruits and vegetables.
This is a great alternative to fresh fruits and vegetables because they can be more economical. Yesterday I bought frozen edamame, asparagus, blueberries, and strawberries. Steam up frozen veggies for dinner or use them as a snack. Frozen berries taste great in the morning with breakfast or mixed in with low-fat yogurt and natural granola.

5. Look for healthy options in the center of the store. When buying foods in this part of the grocery store, remember natural is best. Look for whole grains, and items low in added sugar. I buy rolled oats, natural granola, whole wheat breads, sea salted almonds, and tuna packed in water. Items closest to their natural state will be your best friend when it comes to improving your health and fitness.

From now on, I challenge you to take a different route through the grocery store. Strive to select more and more items from the perimeter, and fewer and fewer from the center.

Happy Shopping!

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