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A Healthier Way To Grocery Shop

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A Healthier Way To Grocery Shop

If you’re like me-you are all about time saving & efficiency. I thought it would be helpful to provide my best tips and tricks behind navigating the grocery store to obtain the healthy foods you are looking for, without wasting any time. So let’s dive in:


  1. Make a list: Fail to plan, and plan to fail, is a motto that Farrell’s taught me and I live by it to this day. Every time I go to the store, I make a list. My best advice? If you are going to a store whose layout you are familiar with-take an 8.5 x 11 piece of paper and create your list by aisle, in the flow of how you naturally navigate the store. 

  2. Create a Colorful Cart: Fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins and minerals,  which are absolutely essential to fuel our kickboxing and strength training workouts. To get the most benefit, you need to grab a variety of produce types. The goal is to turn your cart into a rainbow! The different hues in produce signal different nutrients. For example, dark leafy green vegetables have lutein, which is important for eye health, where red and orange produce contain lycopene, which may help reduce the risk of certain cancers. Shop the perimeter of the store and stock your cart up with the good stuff.

  3. Choose Organic When You Can: The cleaner you eat, the better you feel, is the general rule. Eating organic when possible will help reduce your exposure to the pesticides that are used with non organic fruits and veggies, and helps to protect the environment. Organic fresh produce has a sticker with a 5-digit code that begins with 9.  If you can’t buy all organic produce, prioritize items you eat most often. Check out CR’s produce ratings (CR.org/pesticidesonproduce) to find the nonorganic items that are less likely to be contaminated with worrisome amounts of pesticides. With pre-packaged foods, choosing organic can help you to avoid some nasty highly processed ingredients. Organic packaged items have the USDA organic label on them.

  4. Make Friends with the Frozen Foods Aisle: There is often the misconception that frozen fruits and vegetables are not as healthy as fresh, and that is absolutely not the case! Stock up on some steam-in-bag frozen veggies for quick additions to your meal prep, and frozen fruit and spinach to blend into your smoothies. The added benefit of frozen produce is that it will last longer than fresh, and can actually help you cut back on food waste.

  5. Diversify Your Protein Picks: Having a wide variety of protein choices in your cart is essential to obtain the omega-3’s, vitamins and minerals that this macronutrient source is packed with. Variety in protein sources is especially important for older adults, as we tend to lose muscle mass with age. A good variety of protein sources should include seafood, nuts, seeds, beans, eggs, tofu, tempeh, lean meat, nonfat greek yogurt, and poultry.

  6. Read Labels: I repeat, read labels. It is best to avoid the center aisles of the grocery store as much as possible, but should you need to grab some items from this section, brush up on your knowledge of how to properly read a nutrition label (paying close attention to serving sizes, added sugar, sodium content, and the ingredients list, of course). If you are purchasing protein bars, granola, or cereals, check for more fiber and less added sugars. 

  7. Stock up on DIY Ingredients:  Pre-packaged processed foods are often chock full of sodium, preservatives, sugar, and other nasty ingredients. For many of these foods, you can make your own version at home! Avocado or olive oil, vinegar, and a few of your favorite seasonings can make an amazing salad dressing, for example, and an air popper and dash of sea salt can make popcorn effortless.

  8. Resist the Impulse Buy: It can be hard to resist snacks and desserts near the checkout line. Keep in mind, these end caps are typically stocked with items that have little to no nutritional value. What has personally helped me with my impulse buying, and saves me a ton of time? I shop online, and pick up in store. Did you know that many of your favorite stores offer this option without an additional charge? This helps me stick to my shopping list, saves me an enormous amount of time, and keeps my rumbling tummy from grabbing that reeses at the self checkout line!


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