Want to eat healthier but don’t know where to start when food shopping?
I got you, girl! Today, I am sharing 11 easy-to-adopt healthy food shopping tips that you can start using today.
I have been there. Confused about what to buy + what to eat.
My shopping used to include low-fat, sugar-free, low calorie… etc. You know, what all of us are taught!
But, what really helped me create a healthy diet was understanding things like:
- what should be organic
- healthy food swaps
- understanding ingredients
- real food vs fake, processed foods
- sneaky, misleading packages
So, this weekend while I shopped at Trader Joes I snapped random pictures of tips that have helped me over the years.
I hope you love these + that they help you feel stress-free when shopping for healthier items this week!
Keep reading to get 12 healthy food shopping tips you can start using now.
12 Healthy Food Shopping Tips
HEALTHY FOOD SHOPPING TIP #1:
Choose non-organic avocados:
Avocados have a think outside layer, which protects the inside from absorbing pesticides sprayed on the crop during conventional growing.
Save yourself about $1 (or more) + just get the non-organic version.
Take that money you saved + use it for the “dirty dozen” — fruits + veggies that you should never buy non-organic!
HEALTHY FOOD SHOPPING TIP #2:
Choose REAL, whole food snacks over processed:
We often grab for snacks because we are hungry + want to be able to “hold ourselves over” until the next full meal.
But, when you choose to eat processed foods, they often contain a ton of unnecessary sugar/carbs + fake ingredients that often cause us to be hungry an hour later.
Real, whole foods contain nutrients that do a MUCH better job of keeping you full for longer! That’s because many include good quality fats, carbs, + proteins.
PROCESSED SNACK EXAMPLES:
- granola bars
REAL, WHOLE FOOD EXAMPLES:
- nut butters
- hard boiled egg
HEALTHY FOOD SHOPPING TIP #3:
Choose 1-2 “plan B” meals:
Plan B meals are meals that you have on hand for days when life happens. Either you ran out of time to cook or you just don’t feel like cooking!
The point of these is to have a healthy (or healthy-“ish”) meal available so you don’t end up eating something that you will regret later on.
I recommend choosing meals that take less than 5 minutes to either cook or prepare.
BUT (+ this is a super important “but”), you need to be choosy about your plan B meals. SO many freezer/fridge prepared meals are loaded with tons of garbage your body doesn’t need. I am talking an insane amount of salt, carbs, or just overall poor quality ingredients.
So, get in the habit of reading labels!
Not sure what to look for? If you read the ingredients + don’t know what the heck something is (or cannot pronounce it)… just skip it. Look for whole, real foods on the list of ingredients!
HEALTHY FOOD SHOPPING TIP #4:
Get choosy about your red meat:
This article explained that “By some counts, up to 70 percent of ground beef in the nation contains the filler dubbed ‘pink slime’-fatty scraps that have been heated and centrifuged to separate out lean bits of meat and treated with ammonium hydroxide.The USDA says this is safe to eat, and companies aren’t required to list it as an ingredient.”
FYI: ammonium hydroxide is used in many household cleaning products + sanitizers. But… I guess that USDA thinks it’s safe to eat?? Ok.
On top of that, there are so many hormones +antibiotics in conventional red meat. These hormones affect how we feel, our weight, energy levels, + our overall health.
To be safe, opt for grass-fed + go organic whenever you can.
Yes, it is a bit more $$$, but your health is worth it. Leave the cookies + chips on the shelf + spend it on this instead!
Want to save? Go conventional with your white meat. Less hormones + foul play involved in the preparation of white meat compared to red!
HEALTHY FOOD SHOPPING TIP #5:
Opt for whole grains over white:
Now, if you look at the picture below, these waffles are “multi” grain. That means that there are multiple grains in these waffles. But, we really don’t know how many.
A better option would be “whole” grain. That means that the grains were harvested from a field that has:
- bran (fiber, b vitamins, + antioxidants)
- germ (protein, minerals, healthy fats)
- endosperm (starch)
In white flour products, the bran + germ are removed. So, you are missing out on a TON on health benefits!
But, if you are left with a choice between multi gran + white, definitely choose the multi grain to get more healthy ingredients.
HEALTHY FOOD SHOPPING TIP #6:
Choose frozen fruits + veggies to save $$$ on organic:
Fun fact? Every day fruits + vegetables are exposed to the air they lose more + more nutrients.
Frozen fruits + vegetables are frozen at the highest point of nutrition! So, when you defrost + prepare them they are just as good (+ often better) than fresh ones.
Save yourself some $$$ + get more nutrients by opting for the frozen ones.
If you have been struggling with wrapping your head around going organic, this is a way to keep some money in your pockets!
This also makes it so you’re throwing out less fruits + veggies every week from “forgetting about them” in your fridge drawer (haha – I know I am not alone!).
HEALTHY FOOD SHOPPING TIP #7:
Navigate “death row” carefully:
When I refer to “death row,” I am talking about the frozen dinners + sides aisle of the food store.
You have to be very careful when choosing foods from this section because many:
- have fake ingredients, including artificial flavors, colors, + additives
- include words like “healthy” on them when they are in fact NOT
- mislead you into thinking they are low calorie when the portion size is for a baby
Get into the habit of reading labels! The first few times it might take time. But, once you have your go-to “death row” items, you are good to go!
Remember: some of these make awesome plan B meals!
HEALTHY FOOD SHOPPING TIP #8:
Find healthier versions of your favorite snacks:
If you are eating healthier, that doesn’t mean you need to completely give up foods you love!
Today, there are SO many options for you. Many brands have listened to demands + have created healthier, real food dupes for snack favorites.
Example: If you look at the image above, there are now coconut milk options for ice cream! Would I say it is “healthy”… ehh, not really! BUT, it is WAY better than 95% of ice creams out there with SO MANY fake ingredients + added sugars!
Another example are brands like Halo Top + Enlightened. Their ice cream pints are about 300 calories or less A CONTAINER! So, if you eat the whole thing in one sitting you don’t feel that bad at all!
There are similar dupes for other snacks, you just need to research a bit + look around at the store.
Also, don’t be afraid to ask a store employee. They want you buying their food, so they will definitely help you out!
HEALTHY FOOD SHOPPING TIP #9:
Load your cabinets up with LOTS of spices:
Most people falsely believe that eating healthy requires you to have tons of money.
A trick is to keep your cabinets crazy stocked with lots of different flavors you love! I say lots because you don’t want to get tired of even you favorite flavors.
Trader Joe’s spices are crazy crazy crazy cheap + delicious. But, every food store has so many choices! You can even find many good ones online these days.
Spices are great to add to:
- ground meats
- steak, chicken, turkey, etc
- whole grain pasta + rice
- roasted veggies
- homemade pizza
So many opportunities for you to take the foods you make every day to the next level of yummy!
HEALTHY FOOD SHOPPING TIP #10:
Choose red lentil + black bean pasta over white/whole wheat:
Whole wheat is definitely better than white flour pasta! So, if that’s the swap you want to make, go for it.
But, if you want to go even healthier, choose red lentil or black bean.
Again, season it right (+ follow the cooking directions) + they taste very good. I eat them all the time!
What makes them better than white/whole wheat pasta?
- higher protein
- higher fiber
- one ingredient
When you have higher fiber + protein, you stay fuller longer. Most white/whole wheat pastas are made up of 5+ ingredients. The less, the better!
Be choosy + buy red lentil + black bean pastas with only one ingredient (red lentils OR black beans!). Some have a bunch of extra ingredients that are completely unneeded + unnecessary.
HEALTHY FOOD SHOPPING TIP #11:
STOP buying canola + vegetable oils:
Canola oil + vegetable oils are NOT real foods! I don’t know how they even make it to the shelves of stores.
Fact: vegetable oil contains zero veggies… how misleading is that!?!?
Choose REAL oils with super healthy fats like:
- avocado oil
- extra virgin olive oil
- sunflower seed oil
What you want to buy is products that are not chemically created + produced. The more REAL it is, the easier it will be for you to digest + the better it will be for your overall health.
HEALTHY FOOD SHOPPING TIP #12:
Ditch juice for healthier options:
Almost every single juice you buy at the store is packed with unnecessary sugars + calories you do not need in your diet!
I don’t know who made up drinking juice when you’re sick: MISTAKE! So many healthier alternatives.
Want to still have juice in a healthy way? Freshly squeeze the fruit yourself.
Don’t want to do the work? Here are healthier options:
- Fruit infused water
- Coffee + tea
- Water (always the best!)
I hope these tips were helpful!