That is, shop around the perimeter! Visit any grocery store and you'll find the healthiest items located around the perimeter, or outer walls. To simplify your shopping and ensure you buy the foods you need for a healthy lifestyle, become a “perimeter shopper.”
As you enter the store, produce is to the right or left. Start there.
“Right away, look to fill at least one-half of your cart with fresh fruits and vegetables,” said Kelley McIntyre, M.D., bariatrician. “As you move along the perimeter of the store, you’ll come to breads, meats and dairy items. Ultimately, three-quarters of your cart should be filled with these perimeter items so that there isn’t much room left for less healthy items found in the interior aisles.”
When choosing bread, look for the whole grain stamp on the package. Whole grains have more fiber, which will keep you full longer and is important for good digestion. Look for breads with 5 grams or more of fiber per serving.
Moving to the meat department, look for lean options — boneless, skinless, white meat. Many ground meats can be lean as well. Choose those labeled as at least 90 percent lean. And you don’t have to avoid red meats to be healthy. Just stay clear of cuts with “marbling,” which tend to contain more fat.
Don’t forget other protein foods, which can be found in abundance in the dairy section. Eggs and yogurt are great sources of protein and are inexpensive. Be sure to read the labels when choosing yogurt. Some are packed with sugar. Look for 10 grams or less of sugar.
Dr. McIntyre suggests these additional tips for a successful shopping trip:
Never shop hungry. Your stomach will tell you to buy everything in sight!
Always bring a list. It will keep you from impulse buying not-so-healthy items.
Skip the soft drink and fruit juice aisle. These contain empty calories. If you must buy them, choose diet drinks and juices with 10 or less calories per serving.
Need help reaching your weight loss goals?
Come to a free information session on medical or surgical weight loss held weekly at Norton Health & Wellness Center adjacent to Norton Suburban Hospital. For dates and times, visit NortonWeightManagement.com.
Did you know that how you shop at the grocery store can help you make better food choices? Certified dietitians with Norton Weight Management Services talked with Get Healthy’s Jackie Hays about perimeter shopping and why reading food labels is so important.