Recommendations for healthy grocery shopping

Grocery shopping - where do I begin?

Shopping for groceries can be a daunting task. Many people feel overwhelmed the minute they pull up to the store. For some, the goal is to get in and grab food as quickly as they can, sacrificing nutrition along the way, throwing processed foods in their cart.

The food you purchase at the store can be your first step to health. Filling your cart with the right foods can provide your body with the nutrition it needs to get through the week.

A common recommendation is to shop the perimeter of the store. By doing this, you see mostly your basic foods such as fruits, vegetables, dairy and meat. These products are the core of any diet.

Fresh fruits and veggies should make up at least half of your plate, so you need a lot of these. Opt for choosing your staple food items, as well as things you may not typically purchase, so you’re trying new things.

For example, spaghetti squash is a great substitute for pasta, and romaine lettuce can make a good sandwich wrap. Just beware of high calorie veggie dips and dressings and reach for a lower calorie option.

Meats are a great source of protein. The goal is to choose a low fat meat, and that can be tricky. In this food group, the biggest obstacle is the fat content. Opt for skinless meats, but if you do purchase items with skin, trim it before you cook it.

Look for very lean beef, lean hamburger, sirloin steaks and pork loin as they are all great choices.

Foods in the dairy section can provide protein and they are a great supply of calcium. Be sure you reach for one percent milk, low fat cheese and light yogurt. You’ll get the same protein and calcium without the fat.

Cereals and Breads
Whole grains provide your body with the fiber and carbohydrates it needs. Reach for whole grain cereals and oatmeal without added sugar. They can be a great choice to get you going in the morning. Pass over the white bread and choose a whole grain option.

Frozen Foods
Frozen foods need not be overlooked. You can find frozen vegetables and fruit that can be used anytime. Frozen chicken, beef and turkey meat balls are great to keep on hand. When you get to the ice cream section, remember to practice moderation!

Lastly, don't forget to have a plan before shopping. It is very difficult to have a successful trip without knowing what you need. Scan your cabinets and cupboards and make a list. Decide what necessities you may need, as well as items for your latest recipe.