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  • Writer's pictureAshley Cummins, RN, INHC

Do not go to the grocery store again without THESE TIPS!

Let's face it, grocery shopping can be overwhelming! Yes, even this food lover can admit this truth. One of the most significant pain points I walk through with clients of mine is the 'how-to's' with grocery shopping. I find this to be such a recurring conversation that I wanted to give you some things to think about on your next visit!

Stay in the perimeter of the store. – Ok, I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times but it really is important. If you like to aimlessly peruse every isle when you shop, STAY CLEAR OF THE CENTER!!! The middle of a grocery store isn’t all-bad but when you visit the middle, I ask that you do it with intention. You need to be on a mission for a specific item. Know exactly what you need before stepping foot in there! The middle of the grocery store is essentially where all the processed food is. Processed food is not conducive to a healthy lifestyle. Those fancy processed food love to lure you in with their temptation! Be strong! You will find all your whole foods (meat, fish, vegetables, fruit) in the perimeter. This is where you need to be!

Try to buy organic when possible. I understand how expensive organic produce can be. But I ask you to think about your health. Pesticides are wreaking havoc on our bodies. I challenge you to slowly start adding more organic food to your diet. If you are on a budget, I recommend you print off the dirty dozen list and keep it with you when you go grocery shopping. This is a list of the 12 most pesticide laden fruits and vegetables you should be buying organic. You can find the list on the Environmental Working Group’s website ( The EWG puts out a new list every year.

Go with a grocery list. Grocery lists are important for many reasons! These lists help you to stay on task and save time. They help you to stick to your meal plan and they help you save money by buying only what you NEED! Eat before you go. You are setting yourself up for a pricey and heavy grocery cart if you decide to go hungry because EVERYTHING is going to look like a good idea! I recommend keeping some healthy snacks in your car for these emergencies. I always do a check-in with myself before I go into the store and if I’m hungry…I’m gonna have a snack!

Check out the bulk section. I like the bulk section because you can buy as much or as little as you need! The prices in the bulk section are typically cheaper too! I encourage you to visit it the next time you are there to see where this area could serve you! Be sure to avoid the snack section! It will try and seduce you ;)

Read labels – It seems like you have to have a doctorate degree to read the nutrition label these days! Let me make it simple for you. When you are looking at ingredients, look for words you know and products with names that match the picture. Also, packaged food typically has high sodium content so look for ones with no added salt or low sodium. When buying canned fruit, looks for fruit packed in water and not syrup. And when buying canned meats, pick the ones canned in water instead of oil.

Shop the frozen section. I love the frozen section ESPECIALLY during the cold months! You can get great quality produce for cheaper prices. Most frozen foods are picked at the peak of ripeness so they are of greater quality. Again, I recommend buying organic when you can. Also keep an eye out for added ingredients especially in your vegetable blends. The only ingredients in frozen vegetables should be the vegetables themselves.

Try a Farmers Market – If you have time to research farms local to your area, I HIGHLY recommend you do so! You can usually see your local farmers at farmers markets. When you eat food close to home, not only do you get peak freshness and deliciousness, but you are also supporting your local farmer! You can also purchase your meat and dairy through farmers too! Fresh is best!

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