You know that what you eat is just as important as how you move your body. But with so many options at the grocery store, it can be tough to make healthy choices that fit your budget. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to shop for healthful, cost-conscious foods that will support your fitness goals. Let’s explore some easy tips and tricks together.
A healthy diet is rich in vegetables, fruits, legumes (beans or lentils), whole grains, nuts, seeds, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy products. Trying to fill your cart with all of those goodies can feel overwhelming. But just think in terms of twos.
"Get two fruits and two vegetables of different colors, and two types of lean protein — such as fresh, frozen, or canned fish, chicken or lean ground turkey, or plant-based options," suggests Nancy Oliveira, a registered dietitian and manager of the Nutrition and Wellness Service at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Oliveira also recommends getting two foods in each of these categories on your weekly shopping trip:
Go ahead and add one or two healthy treats or snacks, such hummus or dried apricots.
Do you need to choose organic foods?
Organic produce is grown without synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, which are linked to many health problems. While US scientists debate whether foods grown with organic fertilizers (such as animal waste) are safer for your health, other countries, including European Union nations, have banned or phased out synthetic pesticides still used in the United States.
That doesn’t mean that everything you buy must be organic. But try to stay away from conventionally grown produce with thin skins, such as strawberries, spinach, kale, peaches, and grapes. They tend to absorb more chemicals compared to produce with thick skins, such as avocados or pineapples.
The Environmental Working Group creates an annual list to help shoppers avoid high-pesticide produce, and another one that highlights the least contaminated produce.
Buying cost-conscious fresh food and staples
Healthy food, especially organic produce, has a reputation for being expensive. But it doesn’t have to be. Just do a little comparison shopping, and follow Oliveira’s tips to save money on a grocery run:
Easy healthy snacks to reach for
Move on from easy grab-n-go snacks, which are typically processed foods. They often contain unhealthy ingredients and promote overeating. Instead, Oliveira suggests keeping healthy snacks on hand, such as:
"To save money, buy certain foods in larger amounts when possible, such as an 8-ounce bar of cheese that you slice into small cubes and store in a sealed container in the fridge," Oliveira says.
Crowdsource shopping tips and savings
Don’t be shy about asking for shopping tips from friends and family members who’ve already developed shortcuts, and grocery store staffers who can offer insider advice.
You can also turn to apps for help. Oliveira recommends two faves:
"And if you prefer not to use apps, just jot down notes after a quick pantry or fridge inventory, or text yourself every time you remember something you need," Oliveira advises. "With a little practice, you’ll quickly work out the best system for you."
Ready to make positive changes in your health and recovery journey? Let us help you get there! Contact us today at (561) 278-6055 to schedule a personalized consultation with one of our experienced PTs. Follow us on Instagram for more tips on how to shop for healthful, cost-conscious foods and other ways to improve your overall health and wellness.