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Navigating the Notorious Grocery Store

Posted Apr 24th, 2014 in General, Nutrition, Wellness

Navigating the Notorious Grocery Store

Nothing gives me more pleasure than getting out in the sunshine and shopping at our local farmer’s markets. For our family, it usually serves as a Saturday outing and with a coffee in hand, as we leisurely walk from stand to stand. We try samples, talk with farmers, and I feel some comfort knowing exactly where my food comes from. Spring, summer, and fall are usually a no-brainer, but what happens when the dreaded winter hits, or we need something in a pinch?

Have you ever thought about the words grocery STORE? Being a small business owner, my eyes have really been opened to business practices, marketing, and selling. Ever notice in the grocery store how the sugary-laden snacks are placed next to the diapers and toddler items, or how the candy is conveniently placed in the check- out line? I’m not placing any judgement on a grocery store layout, but it’s important to take a step back and think about WHY you are placing that item in your cart.

Ever notice in the grocery store how the sugary-laden
snacks are placed next to the diapers and toddler items, or how the candy is
conveniently placed in the check- out line?

Quite honestly, the grocery store overwhelms me. Do I buy organic or non organic? Do I buy a name brand or a no-name brand?  Why do I have to go to the Asian isle to find sesame oil? If I want to use brown rice vermicelli noodles is that with the pasta or is that considered Asian too?

Look out if I send my husband to get something from a vegan cookbook or a clean eating book. I love eating clean, but finding durum semolina and whole wheat oats can sometimes be a process in the grocery store. After about an hour and I’m starting to wonder if I should call the police and file a missing persons report, I usually get a text saying something like,“Reallllllly love. Are you for real? I can’t find (insert weird item here)." I completely understand that walking from isle to isle can be exhausting.

 My number one tip for navigating the notorious grocery store is to stay in the perimeter. The freshest produce, lean meats, dairy, and whole grains are around the perimeter. This allows you to minimize the highly processed foods that are usually shelved in the center isles.

Even frozen vegetables are a wonderful option instead of canned vegetables. Canned vegetables are packed in syrup and have added salt to keep it on the shelf longer. Frozen vegetables are picked at its ripest and then flash frozen. When thawed, they still keep their nutritional value and have no added filler.

My number one tip for navigating the notorious grocery store is to stay in the perimeter.

Not sure whether to buy organic fruits and vegetables? If you are planning on eating the skin, a good rule of thumb is to buy organic. According to the Environmental Working Group, the “Dirty Dozen” which should be bought organic are: Celery, Peaches, Strawberries, Apples, Blueberries, Nectarines, Sweet Bell Peppers, Spinach, Kale and Collard Greens, Cherries, Potatoes, and Grapes.

The “Clean Fifteen” that do not have to be organic are: Onions, Avocado, Frozen Sweet Corn, Pineapples, Mango, Frozen Sweet Peas, Asparagus, Kiwi, Cabbage, Eggplant, Cantaloupe, Watermelon, Grapefruit, Sweet Potatoes, and Melon.

If you are planning on eating the skin, a good rule of thumb is to buy organic.

Lastly, be prepared! Do not go to the grocery store hungry and follow your list. Tame that inner beast that’s wondering if you are going to eat again. If you allow it to guide you, you may end up with high fat, over-processed, quick satisfaction foods that leave you feeling truly empty in the long run.

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