With long days at the office, busy weeknights and weekends at home with family and friends, and our ever more complex, nonstop pace, healthy eating may feel like an unattainable goal. And, with the economy squeezing us in every direction, and the allure of cheap and convenient fast food, healthy food choices may appear too expensive to consider.
Selecting healthy products at the supermarket or corner store can seem like an overwhelming task, stressing out any shopper with good intentions, but it doesn’t have to be. Trust the adage, “If you shop right, you will eat right.” A few minutes a day of forethought and planning can put you in control of your diet. Become proactive and, wherever you shop, use these nuggets of knowledge from “Cooking Light What to Eat” that are key to healthy eating:
Shop the grocery store perimeter
The outer aisles are where most grocery stores feature healthy foods, such as fresh fruits, veggies, fish, meats, poultry, and dairy products. These foods amp up the nutritional quality of what you eat. Detour into the bread and grain aisles for whole grains such as oatmeal, barley, and quinoa as well as 100 percent whole grain breads and pastas.
Look high, look low
Large food manufacturers pay retailers big bucks for product placement on middle- and eye-level shelves, so be sure to check upper and lower shelves for products that are both healthy and affordable. Store brands are often stocked low on the shelves and can offer great deals.
Buy in bulk
Stocking up on larger quantities of the foods you eat often can equal cash savings. Dried lentils, beans, and chickpeas are great buys, as are large bags of rice (brown is best) since they last for many months and are easily stored. However, do your homework and compare prices since not all foods are cheaper in bulk.
Fruits and vegetables account for 20 percent of household food waste and, if you’ve ever eaten a mealy out-of-season tomato, you can probably understand why. Seasonal, local produce from the farmer’s market offers freshness and flavor, often for less money. Plus, if fruits and vegetables taste great, you’ll be less likely to throw them — and your money — away.
Buy store brands
Store brand products can be just as tasty and nutritious as brand names, but they cost about 25 percent less!
Plan meals around what’s on sale
Adjust your grocery list to take advantage of sales. If the market is having a special on chicken breasts or pork tenderloin, stock up. Use one tonight and freeze the surplus for meals later in the week.