My Tips For Healthier Grocery Shopping Part 2
If you think that making healthier choices at the grocery store is challenging or exhausting, this aisle-by-aisle shopping guide is exactly what you need. I posted the first part of it on Tuesday, you’ll find it here, and now it’s time to go into more detailed in canned goods, freezer aisles and snack products, among other things.
Healthy cooking and overall wellbeing start with smart choices at the grocery store, right 😉 .
Meat and fish aisles. You should eat at least twice a week fish to get enough omega-3 fatty acids, so reach for salmon, mackerel and herring. Actually all kind of seafood is nutrient-rich, serves as a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals and is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, so be adventurous and buy some shellfishes and squid. Oooh, how I low grilled squid <3 . If you eat red meat, turkey and chicken, choose filet, sirloin, lean ground beef and boneless, skinless chicken breast. Leave all the pre-marinated meats to the supermarket. Yes, it's more convenient and fast to buy those ones, but you'll be sacrificing both quality and control of taste and healthiness in your final dish. When buying deli meats and cold cuts, read carefully the list of ingredients on packages. Leave pepperoni, salami and sausages (those are always high in fat and especially in saturated fat) to the super market, and choose whole meat and low-fat products such as turkey and chicken breast, boiled or smoked ham and lean roast beef. Instead of buying honey, sugar or maple cured meats, opt for smoked or just slightly salted ones. Pay attention also to sodium content (a high-sodium diet can lead to high blood pressure, for example) and preservatives called nitrates and nitrites. These chemicals add the pink color to processed meats and prevent bacterial growth to extend the shelf life, but you'll feel better without them, believe me! I prefer fresh fish and meats, but I always have some of those in freezer, just in case, if I don't have time to go to super market and in order to avoid ordering fast food.
Canned goods aisle. Canned vegetables etc. tend to lose a lot of nutrients during the preservation process, so I rarely visit this aisle. Notable exceptions include tomatoes and pumpkin, which I always have at home. Canned beans and chickpeas (excellent sources of fiber, folate, vitamin B1, plant protein, iron and minerals) are also a convenient and healthy extra to every meal and nutritionally they are like cooked ones. Just remember that the sodium content of canned beans can a lot higher than in cooked beans, and rinsing may be needed.
Freezer aisles. Sometimes, especially during the winter, frozen vegetables may be even more healthful than some of the fresh produce sold in supermarkets. The explanation for this is, that fruits and veggies chosen for freezing tend to be processed at their peak ripeness, a time when they are usually most nutrient-packed. Choose frozen berries, beans, a variety of vegetables and salmon filets, for example, and prepare a quick meal of them when you are busy.
If you are going to buy ice cream, choose single-servings. These smaller treats can help you avoid the temptation of going overboard on not-so-healthy things 😉 .
Condiments, sauces and oils aisle. Healthy eating doesn’t mean forgoing flavors, vice versa. Just check the sugar, salt and fat content, and choose products which have the lowest numbers. For example, most ketchup and BBQ sauces contain surprising amounts of sugar and salt, so always choose reduced ones, or make your own. Store bought salad dressings are something that I suggest you to forget totally, and make your own instead. From this aisle, choose high quality extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and pesto (while it’s rather high in calories and fat, pesto offers a wealth of nutrients and a punch of flavor that many other sauces lack and you don’t have to use it that much). Also if you buy spice mixtures, choose always the ones without added salt.
And what do we always have at home?
• Low-sodium soy sauce or tamari (tamari is smoother, less salty, and more viscous than traditional soy sauce, plus, it’s gluten-free), because both are great for marinating, stir-frying, and making more complicated sauces and soups.
• Reduced sugar ketchup and some mustard (Mustard plant seeds are loaded with antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds, and essential minerals like selenium, but pay attention to salt!) like Maille Dijon Originale.
• Tahini, because it makes a great base for salad dressings (try for example to mix garlic, lemon juice, a little bit of water and spices of your choice) marinades, and dipping sauces, and it tastes divine mixed with natural yogurt.
• Huy Fong’s wildly popular Sriracha (low-cal hot sauce that is made of vinegar, hot peppers, garlic, and salt)
Snack aisles. You don’t have to skip totally these aisles, because usually all the nuts, seeds (those are packed with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids) and dried fruits are there. Look for natural products, that means there should read for example 100% hazelnuts, dried dates or sunflower seeds. Forget oiled, fried and salted ones.
If you’re going to buy “traditional” snacks, choose popcorn instead of chips and salsa instead of cheese dip. My kind of weekend snack is different kind of veggie sticks with hummus, instead of sour cream dip 😛 .
I hope that this little guide makes your grocery trips a little bit easier and healthier eating not so tiring. When you have the right ingredients in your kitchen, cooking up healthy meals happens almost by itself 😉 .