Shopping for healthy food doesn’t have to be a chore that you dread. If you are thinking that you are now going to have to start reading the labels of everything you pick up from now on, that is not necessarily true. There are thousands of choices that you can make when you go to the grocery store. The grocery isles are full of food in fancy packaging that are a feast to the eye. Don’t be fooled by the fancy packages. My mother used to say, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”.
The first thing to do before making the trip to the grocery store is to plan your meals for the week. Determine what food you already have in your cupboards and from there, make a list of the food that you will need to purchase. This will save you money because food will not go to waste.
Next, before you actually head out to the grocery store, make sure you have eaten a meal. If you go to the grocery store hungry, you may be tempted to go for those fancy packages and take home food that is not really healthy for you.
The best area in the grocery store to shop is around the perimeter – that is around the walls of the store. This is where you find the majority of the fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy and eggs. Stay totally away from the bakery section. There is no healthy food to find there. To save money, I will buy my meat in bulk when it is on sale. When I take the meat home, I then divide the meat up into single serving portions and seal then with my FoodSaver vacuum sealer and put the single serving portions in the freezer.
It’s important that when you are buying meat, you stay away from processed meats such as bacon, preserved ham, most sliced sandwich meats and some types of sausages. Many sausages contain nitrites which has been linked to cancer. If you are adventurous, you can try and make your own sausages. I tried my hand at making homemade turkey sausages last summer with my KitchenAid stand mixer and sausage maker attachment. They actually tasted pretty good.
To save money in the fruit department, I will buy certain fruits and vegetables in bulk when they are on sale and I will either freeze them or dehydrate them. I have a 9 tray Excalibur food dehydrator that has saved me so much money on my grocery bill. In a future blog post, I will talk about food dehydration and preserving a bit more.
Organic fruits and vegetables can be a bit more expensive than regular produce. I believe that if a person buys regular produce, the only thing that they should remember to do is to wash the produce really well before consuming. As a matter of fact, it is always best practice to wash all your produce before consuming. Recently in the news there was a recall of all packaged greens coming out of a certain Dole packaging facility. It was reported that there was a Listeria contamination and that people had become seriously ill. There was also a report of a death related to this contamination.
The main thing to remember in shopping for healthy food is to stay away from anything that is processed. Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet and your body will thank you for it.