Top 5 Grocery Shopping Tips from a Registered Dietitian

Grocery shopping can be a difficult task, especially if you don’t know exactly what you should be shopping for. Today we break down our top 5 tips on how to grocery shop smart.  We want you to feel prepared next time you hit the supermarket.

Tip 1: Don’t go grocery shopping hungry

Going to the grocery store on an empty stomach can be dangerous. More often than not, grocery shopping on an empty stomach will lead you to buy much more than you need. When we are hungry we tend to pick out things that sound good at the moment. This may lead us to choose items that are a quick fix for hunger like processed snacks. Next time you head to the store, take the time to make sure you have eaten a proper meal or snack beforehand to eliminate excessive purchases. 

Tip 2: Look at the back for the nutrition facts

I am going to let you in on a little secret, the front of a food item is not necessarily the best thing to look at when deciding which product or brand to purchase. Brands use the front of the label to entice you to think their product is better in some way or another. But the front of the food label is not the best place to look for factual information. Some of the sayings on the front of the label may be somewhat false advertising. For example, a loaf of bread may advertise on the front “100% whole grain”. Then, you turn to the back only to find out that it is enriched with whole wheat and may not provide the benefits of a true whole grain. 

We recommend you look at the back of the label for the nutrition facts label. The nutrition facts label is strictly regulated by the FDA and required to provide certain information to the customer. There is no way to trick the consumer on the nutrition facts label and you can clearly see what is in the product you are purchasing. This is the best way to see added sugars, healthy fats, fiber, protein and more!

Tip 3: Buy fresh and frozen fruit and meat when you are grocery shopping

We all know how difficult it is to keep fresh fruit from going bad before we have the chance to eat it. It is devastating to have to throw away fruit that goes moldy. This doesn’t mean you should buy less of it because you can’t finish it in time. Fruit is essential to consume 2-3 a day. With that said, we know it seems inconvenient  to make more than one trip to the grocery store in a week. Today we will let you in on a solution.

One way to save yourself having to back multiple trips to the grocery store is to stock up on both fresh and frozen fruits. Frozen fruit is just as nutritious as fresh fruit. Frozen fruit is picked at peak of ripeness and then flash-frozen to preserve optimal nutrition. They last for several months in the freezer. So buy as much fresh fruit that you know you can consume before it goes bad. Then, stock up on frozen fruit from there. I always try to keep frozen blueberries, frozen strawberries, and frozen mangos in my fridge for when I run out of fresh fruit. Frozen blueberries are great for adding to your oatmeal and frozen mangoes and strawberries are delicious for smoothies.

What about meat?

Just like fresh fruit, fresh or raw meat is another item that might be difficult to consume before it goes bad. Especially since raw meat can’t be kept for too long in the fridge before it is no longer safe to eat. One way to fix this problem is to plan ahead before your next trip to the store. Make a list of how many times you are going to need raw meat for your lunches and dinners and don’t overbuy. If you plan to make salmon on Monday, chicken on Wednesday, and ground turkey on Friday, stick to just buying enough to make those 3 meals. Then, stock your freezer with frozen meat and fish in case you decide to cook meat again that week. This will eliminate food waste and ensure you aren’t buying more than you can cook. 

Tip 4: Buy local and in-season produce

The best products to buy are local and in-season. Although it is easy to consume the same fruits and vegetables that we are used to year-round, you are truly doing yourself a disservice by not consuming seasonal foods. At CF Nutrition, we encourage you to educate yourself on seasonal foods to improve your health and get the tastiest and freshest produce available.  As an added bonus, buying fruits and vegetables that are in season will be the more affordable option. Not only that, buying fruits and vegetables in season is going to have more nutritional value. Eating the same 3 fruits and vegetables every day is a common trait for many people, but all fruits and vegetables have different nutritional compositions and have different vitamins and minerals. To get all the nutrients we need, eating a variety of fruits and vegetables is crucial.

Tip 5: Avoid foods with artificial ingredients

The ingredient list on some items at the store can get quite long and confusing. So in addition to reading the nutrition fact label for calories, macronutrients and sugar, make sure you look at the ingredient list. The FDA also regulates the ingredient list. The ingredient list is structured so that the item that has the largest amount is listed first and then in descending order after that. So if you see sugar listed as the last ingredient that is much better than if you see it listed first. 

Our biggest tip for reading the nutrition label is to try to purchase foods where you can actually read all of the ingredients. More often than not, the fewer ingredients the better. So look for items with a short and simple list. 

All of CF Nutrition’s products are free from artificial and synthetic ingredients. We pride ourselves on using ingredients that you as the consumer will be proud to put into your body. Our ingredient list has everything your body needs and nothing it doesn’t. 

Now you have all the tips and tricks you need for your next grocery shopping trip. And don’t forget to check out our blog for more health and wellness tips.

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