Going to a grocery store can be a daunting task for some. It can be similar to stepping into a large gym with heaps of equipment. Similarly, both the store and the gym prepare your health for the future. Therefore, setting yourself up for success can decrease your stress going in as well as bettering your health for the future. Furthermore, the “father” of modern medicine asserts, “Let food be thy medicine, and thy medicine thy food”. The first step towards this is understanding foods and how to acquire them.
There have been many different plates and pyramids that different governments and organizations have created over the years. The truth is that each person is different and requires a personalized approach to their daily diet. However, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health has created a general set of guidelines to keep people on track. They created the Healthy Eating Plate which addresses the deficiencies of the USDA’s MyPlate. The Healthy Eating plate speaks upon water, healthy oils, whole grains, proteins, veggies, and fruits. Generally, your plate should be about half veggies, a quarter whole grains, and protein in the last quarter. Therefore, try to consider these general guidelines when planning your trip to the grocery store.
Planning your success can be the first step to achieving it. The Harvard School of Medicine recommends people to make a list of what your meals will consist of for the week. You may even take a picture of your fridge and pantry to see what you need and reference this when shopping. Additionally, try to plan your trip for a time that you are not hungry. Hunger may place items in your cart by impulse and against your plan. Lastly, when planning your visit, remember to be aware of item placement in the store which can have a great impact on the nutritional value of the item.
Stores are usually set up in a way where most of the refrigerated items are on the periphery of the stores in relation to the center isles. For food to not spoil in the center isles, many times they contain a high amount of sodium and/or other preservatives. However, items on the periphery of the store usually contain healthier refrigerated options. Yes, there are exceptions to this rule with cakes, subs, or soda. Therefore, it is also important to read the nutrition label to make sure you are serving your body the way it deserves.
These tips are intended to help guide your grocery store visits and not direct the way you eat. The purpose of nutrition is to serve your body and make sure you live happily. It is okay to treat yourself to items that are lower in nutritional value and not feel guilty about it. Our on-staff registered Dietician Nutritionist, Amanda Boyer, can help you further with your eating and grocery shopping habits. Remember to give yourself love, compassion, and care even when it proves to be difficult.
“10 Tips for Healthy Shopping.” Better Health Channel, Australian Department of Health & Human Services, 30 Sept. 2012, https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/ten-tips/10-tips-for-healthy-shopping.
“Healthy Eating Plate.” The Nutrition Source, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, 28 Oct. 2019, https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-eating-plate/.
Wu, Dominic. “Eating Better: 3 Keys to Healthy Grocery Shopping.” Harvard Health Blog, Harvard Medical School, 23 Mar. 2017, https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/eating-better-3-keys-to-shopping-healthfully-at-the-grocery-store-2017032411333.