For people who are interested in, or required to make permanent diet and lifestyle changes, learning how to navigate through a grocery store can be stressful. Finding the healthiest options or knowing what the healthiest options can also be difficult. Especially if this is something you are not used to doing. Follow me through this “grocery store photograph tour” as I show you how to find nutritious, easy-to-eat, grab and go foods that are perfect for our every day, busy lifestyle!
Walking into the grocery store, you will see the produce section first. In most stores, the produce is usually located toward the front of the building. The produce section typically consists of fruits, vegetables, and salad trimmings. Some healthy and nutritious options for vegetables include peppers, carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower and asparagus, as shown here.
These veggies are very yummy eaten by themselves, but cooking and pairing them with your favorite meat will add lots of color and flavor to your meal. Chopped cauliflower or a cauliflower crumbles “fried rice” blend are both excellent alternatives for rice or potatoes.
Also, at less than $5 per package, pre-cut vegetables (consisting of mushrooms, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions squash and peppers) are a quick and easy way to incorporate fresh and healthy sides with each meal.
For a fast, on-the-go snack, the Taylor Farms “protein punch” package, consisting of broccoli, carrots, string cheese and almonds, or Harvest Snaps baked green pea crisps are both great choices for satisfying those mid-afternoon hunger pangs. Orchard Fresh nuts (pecans, walnuts, cashews, peanuts) can also be a good way to incorporate healthy fats into your diet, but try to keep your number of total servings down to only a few per week! All of these snacks can be found near the produce section.
Along the outer perimeter of the store, you will find the meat, cheese and yogurt products—also a necessity for a healthy and nutritionally stable diet! Pre-cooked and packaged meat such as oven roasted chicken, beef steak, meatloaf, or turkey breast are simple and filling options for lunch or dinner, and fully cooked turkey sausage patties or links are a good way to incorporate protein into your breakfast. For protein-filled snacks, or for a quick lunch option, you definitely can’t go wrong with turkey pepperoni, deli snackers, Hillshire Snacking small plates, P3 portable protein packs, or Fiorucci brand salami wrapped in cheese stick snack packs.
Low-fat string cheese and low-fat Greek yogurt, located usually in the back perimeter of the store, can be eaten with any meal or as an easy to grab snack. Greek yogurt is also really good for dipping those fresh raw veggies in, to give them more flavor and texture! Eggs, also in the back of the store, are another good source of protein in the diet, and for those of us that don’t always have time to cook eggs in the morning, 6 peeled and ready to eat hard-boiled eggs are available for only $1.97.
Whether you are a grocery store veteran or just starting to shop and cook at home, a visual tour can be helpful. I challenge you to go to a grocery store and look for healthy options that you might not have typically bought before. What’s in your cart today?
~Hannah Huff, Dietetic Intern