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Shopping Tips

  1. Choose “real” foods.  If you wouldn’t use it to cook with, you can’t pronounce it, and it didn’t come from a farm or butcher in its current condition, then it’s too processed.
  2. Buy ingredients, not products. It helps you to avoid mystery additives, preservatives, and artificial sweeteners. If you want more salt or sugar, add it yourself.
  3. Avoid foods that contain more than five ingredients or ingredients you don’t recognize.
  4. Don’t fear the frozen. Need veggies that aren’t in season? Head down the freezer aisle. These are particularly useful during the winter, and early spring months, when some vegetables aren’t in season. Plus, they have a longer shelf life than the fresh variety, so you won’t waste them if dinner plans change one night.
  5. Buy in bulk – and share. buying in bulk can significantly reduce your food expenses, particularly for pantry goods like olive oil, rice, beans, and nuts.
  6. Know when it’s ok to skimp on organic. Use the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen Plus and Clean Fifteen lists to figure out when it’s worth going organic.
  7. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store, where fresh food like fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat, and fish are usually located. Skip the center aisles where junk food lurks, with the exception of dried herbs and spices, and staples like olive oil, honey, maple syrup, and vinegar.
  8. Stay clear of foods with cartoons on the label that are targeted to children. If you don’t want your kids eating junk foods, don’t have them in the house. It’s hard to control what they eat when not at home, but you control what they eat in your home.
  9. Make a list, but be willing to be flexible if a vegetable or fruit is on sale for the week!
  10. Don’t shop while you’re hungry! Several studies have shown if you shop without a list and hungry, you will be more likely to purchase high-calorie junk food and packaged foods instead of healthy food options.