A lot of people think healthy food is expensive. After all, why trudge all the way to the farmers market when you can get an inexpensive burger and fries for only a couple of dollars? However, when you factor in all the health problems you’ll be having in the future due to your poor diet choices, making the extra effort to look for fresh produce and to shop healthy will end up costing you less.
Realistically speaking, you don’t have to shell out wads of cash to eat healthy. You just need to learn how to shop healthy. Here’s how –
Grow as much of your food as you can
One of the best ways to ensure that the fruits and vegetables you’re eating are fresh and pesticide free is to grow them yourself. It will also probably cost less than what you’ll find at the supermarket. There are a lot of great ways to grow your own produce in the comfort of your own home. Even someone who lives in a small apartment with a window can grow some herbs and vegetables. If you’re lucky enough to have a yard, allot a small part for vegetables or a small fruit tree. Check online for information on container gardens and even hydroponics.
Don’t shop when you’re hungry
Never shop when you’re hungry. You’re more likely to buy unhealthy foods and snacks when you’re hungry. Eat an apple or some carrot sticks half an hour before going to supermarket to avoid impulse buying.
Make a list
To make the most of your trip to the supermarket, plan the week’s meals in advance and make a list of things to buy before hitting the aisles. It will ensure that you have everything you need for the week ahead. It will also save time and lessen the chances that you would return for something you forgot.
Start at the store’s perimeter
The grocery store is designed like a Pavlovian experiment, with all the useless but attractive products known to man near the front and all the essentials at the perimeter. Start your grocery shopping at the store’s perimeter. You’ll find staples like eggs, butter, cheese, fruits, vegetables and lean meats there, as well as your grains. Avoid the center of the supermarket. It’s also a good idea to get your fruits and vegetables first, followed by your proteins, frozen products, dairy and eggs. Grab grains last.
Less is more when it comes to ingredients
Check the product’s ingredients. The less ingredients are listed, the better. Be wary of ingredients you can’t pronounce. Various ingredients are added to products to preserve freshness and to improve their taste and appearance. It’s not a good sign when fats (oils),sugar (any ingredient ending in –ose)and salt are at the top of the ingredient list.
Buy what produce is in season
It’s always a good idea to buy what fruits and vegetables are in season. They will be cheaper and abundant then. To make it easier to remember what’s in season, think about what sports season it is. Buy a lot of citrus fruits during football season and berries and tomatoes during baseball season.
If you always have a busy schedule but are near a farmer’s market, you can buy produce in advance. Some farmers markets have programs where customers pay in advance and fresh produce are delivered to them weekly.