National Nutrition Month is here! This month, we want to encourage our readers to be more mindful about their dietary intake. With education, encouragement, and practical examples, we want to complete the month of March feeling nourished. One of the first steps towards a better eating lifestyle is to understand your grocery store and to learn how to shop well. I always tell myself, “If you don’t want to eat junk food, don’t buy it!” However, the grocery store trip can be daunting, confusing, and overwhelming.

Tip #1: Make a list.
A list containing only your essential ingredients and staple items helps you to stay on track with your meal preparation and your budget. Bonus – making a list helps to prevent impulse buys! We encourage balance in your meal planning, and with predetermined list you will make the right choice.

Tip #2: Walk the perimeter of the grocery store.
Fruits, veggies, and deli items tend to be located on the outer perimeter of the grocery store. Most stores put the boxed foods that are highly processed and full of sugar in the isles.

Tip #3: Do not be afraid of the frozen section!
Frozen fruits and vegetables often have a higher nutrition content than fresh vegetables because they are frozen shortly after they are harvested. Therefore, these frozen foods have a longer shelf life than vegetables stored in your refrigerator, which helps to reduce the amount of waste in your home. In addition, the frozen section is a great choice when your favorite fruits and vegetables are not in season.

Tip #4: The final tip for grocery shopping is to READ PRODUCT LABELS.
Skilled marketing techniques dupe consumers (like myself) with catchy labeling. It is essential to read the ingredient list thoroughly to know exactly what you are consuming. Ingredients are listed in order of quantity, from highest amount to lowest amount. In other words, the first ingredient is what the product has the most of and then continues in descending order. Best practices include avoiding highly processed foods made from ingredients that you cannot pronounce, look for foods made with fewer ingredients, and to consume whole foods. Michael Pollan, an author, professor, and food-guy, always says, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” His mantra will continue to be our National Nutrition Month idea. We want to eat whole food in moderation and mostly plant based!

Every meal is a choice. For National Nutrition Month, let us choose wisely in grocery stores! If you like using technology as a resource, check out Sift Food Labels and ShopWell to help you make more informed decisions. These apps are easy to use and send information directly to your phone when you scan barcodes of products.

Squeezed for time? Join Simple Eats and let The Wellness Team shop for you! Select from a variety of delicious meals and snack recipes and we will order your groceries from your favorite store to be picked up at your convenience.

Happy Shopping!

Learn more about My Simple 7– daily actions to thrive in a strong, healthy, and peaceful body.