When grocery shopping, many labels will tell you their product is a healthy choice, but is it really? When time doesn't allow research, use this simple trick and keep healthy food FIRST.
F – Fruits and Vegetables: Choose a variety in color and taste, and think of fresh and frozen options so that your choices can last you through the week or more. Think about servings you'll eat at each meal as opposed to buying in bulk. This will help cut down on spoilage and waste.
I – Iron-Rich Foods: Get beans, lentils, dark-leafy greens, and iron-fortified whole grains in the basket. These plant-based iron-rich foods are often overlooked.
R – Ready-to-Eat Proteins: Find healthy protein-rich foods that are ready-to-eat for snacks and quick breakfast and lunches. These can include Greek yogurt, milk, cheese, hard-boiled eggs, and meats such as grilled chicken breasts or roasted turkey deli slices, tuna or salmon packets, etc. Watch out for too much sodium, and opt for fresh lean and extra lean options you can cook up for dinner as well.
S – Seafood: The 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommends 8 ounces per week of fish or other seafood in your diet. Purchase fresh or frozen food that swims to add those healthy fish oils into your diet. They are naturally lower in calories and saturated fat than other meats.
T – Take Inventory: Although it's listed last, the first thing you should do before going grocery shopping and after you've finished with the essentials is take inventory of what you already have and try figuring out what you need for each meal. That way you cut down on waste and focus on the essentials. After you've filled your basket, do a second inventory and think about what meals you've covered for the week.
By focusing on healthy foods first, you’ll master healthy grocery shopping without having to decipher confusing health claims that are found on so many products.