Healthy grocery shopping
A key step for losing weight, keeping the weight off, and staying healthy is learning how to buy the right foods at the store. This will ensure you have healthy choices at home. Avoid regularly bringing chips or cookies, into the home. Having to go out to buy an unhealthy treat gives you more time to make a conscious decision about eating that food. It is fine to include these foods in your diet, but you don't want to eat them mindlessly.
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If you buy large amounts or bulk packages of a snack food, divide it into smaller portion sizes and store what you will not use right away.
When you buy protein, choose:
FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
Buy plenty of fruits and vegetables. They will fill you up and provide vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients your body needs. Some buying tips:
Frozen fruits and vegetable can be good choices as long as there is no added sugar or salt. Some benefits of frozen fruits and vegetables include:
BREADS AND GRAINS
Choose healthy breads, cereals, and pasta, such as:
Limit refined grain or "white flour" products. They are much more likely to:
Before you buy food for the week, think about your schedule:
Then, plan your meals before you shop. This ensures that you have what you need to make healthy choices throughout the week.
Make a shopping list. Having a list reduces impulse buys and ensures that you will purchase all of the ingredients you need.
Try not to go food shopping when you are hungry. You will make better choices if you shop after you have had a healthy meal or snack.
Know How to Read Food Labels
Learn how to read the Nutrition Facts labels on food packages. Know what the serving size is and the amount of calories, fat, protein, and carbohydrates per serving. If a bag contains 2 servings and you eat the whole bag, you will need to multiply the amount of calories, fat, protein, and carbohydrate by 2. People with special health needs will need to pay extra attention to certain parts of the label. For example, if you have diabetes, you should note the grams of carbohydrates in the food. People on a heart healthy diet will need to pay attention to the amount of sodium. Also, the updated version of Nutrition Facts label, which will start appearing on packaged foods in July 2018, has a separate line for added sugars.
Two words on food labels that can be misleading are "natural" and "pure."
Some other tips for reading labels and buying healthy foods are:
Gonzalez-Campoy JM, St. Jeor ST, Castorino K, et al. Clinical practice guidelines for healthy eating for the prevention and treatment of metabolic and endocrine diseases in adults: cosponsored by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists/the American College of Endocrinology and the Obesity Society. Endocr Pract. 2013;19(Suppl 3):1-82. PMID: 24129260 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24129260.
Heimburger DC. Nutrition's interface with health and disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 213.
United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). New and Improved Nutrition Facts Label. www.fda.gov/food/nutrition-education-resources-and-materials/new-and-improved-nutrition-facts-label. Updated July 06, 2018. Accessed April 30, 2019.
US Department of Health and Human Services. US Department of Agriculture website. 2015 - 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/resources/2015-2020_Dietary_Guidelines.pdf. Updated December 2015. Accessed October 11, 2018.
Review Date: 7/14/2018
Reviewed By: Emily Wax, RD, CNSC, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, VA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. Editorial update: 04-30-19.
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