Is the supermarket a place where you listen to elevator music while dragging your feet through aisle after aisle in boredom? Or is it a chance to fill your cart with choices and maybe get handed a free sample while you shop?
Despite the music, supermarket shopping can be interesting. Before you grab a shopping cart and head for the aisles, check out these tips for smart and healthy supermarket shopping.
You can go to a supermarket almost anytime you want — many are open 24 hours. Choosing a time and place for your food shopping can help you shop smarter.
Here are some thoughts on when and where to shop:
You have thousands of foods to choose from in a supermarket, so it's easy to get tempted or forget something you really need. Making a list saves time in the store. Also, plan the recipes that you want to make in the next few days and list the ingredients you'll need.
By making a list, you will:
But even with a list, you need to make some decisions at the supermarket. It helps to think like a chef. A good chef makes lists of ingredients, but also looks over the meats and produce for what's freshest and what's a good deal. So if a recipe calls for red onions but they look bad or the supermarket doesn't have them, the chef chooses another kind of onion that looks best. Or if a certain fish is freshest, the chef might choose it over the type of fish on the shopping list.
A big part of smart shopping is selecting healthy foods. Food labels, also called Nutrition Facts labels, are printed on all packaged foods and are posted near produce, meats, poultry, and fish. These labels let you compare different foods to see how they differ in fat, calories, protein, and other ingredients. For example, you can compare the serving sizes of two cereals you like, see how much fat is in frozen pizza, or find out how many carbohydrates are in a bag of cookies. You also can check to see if a food contains important vitamins and minerals.
Smart shoppers are especially careful about the health claims on food packaging. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decides whether manufacturers can call their foods "healthy" or "low fat." However, it's up to shoppers to put these claims in perspective for their own nutritional needs and eating habits. For example, "reduced fat" cookies might not actually be low in fat. They're just required to have less fat than the regular version of a particular cookie — and that original version may be much higher in fat than other cookies.
Here are just a few of the terms you might see while you shop:
By planning to make recipes and keeping a grocery list, you've already helped guarantee that you'll use the foods you buy.
More tips to help you get the right nutrition and avoid wasting food:
Do things that will help you enjoy food shopping, such as picking a new and interesting ingredient or spice to try each week. Food shopping is something you'll do for the rest of your life, and it will quickly become second nature to you.
Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: October 2014
|Allrecipes.com This site offers more than 40,000 free recipes, plus lots of cooking tips and information.|
|Cooking Light Cooking Light magazine goes online with recipes for healthy living, plus grocery coupons and tips for feeding your family.|
|Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Offering nutrition information, resources, and access to registered dietitians.|
|Food Network TV's Food Network goes online with searchable menus and recipes, an encyclopedia of cooking terms, and ideas from celebrity chefs.|
|Food Labels Look at any packaged food and you'll see the food label. This nutrition facts label gives the lowdown on everything from calories to cholesterol. Read more about food labels.|
|Your Secrets to Healthy Snacking More than 1,000 teens took our survey on healthy snacking. Here are their thoughts (and advice) on choosing healthy snacks.|
|How Much Food Should I Eat? Lots of us don't realize we're eating too much because we've become so used to large portions. This article for teens helps you take control of your plate.|
|Nutrition & Fitness Center Visit our nutrition and fitness center for teens to get information and advice on food, exercise, and sports.|
|Smart Snacking Healthy snacks are essential for busy teens. Find out how eating nutritious snacks throughout the day can keep your energy level high and your mind alert.|
|Cooking Tips and Resources Get some cooking basics in this article for teens, including tips on where to find recipes.|
|Food Safety Learn why food safety is important and how you can avoid the spread of bacteria when you are buying, preparing, and storing food.|
What to expect when coming to Akron Children's
For healthcare providers and nurses
Residency & Fellowships, Medical Students, Nursing and Allied Health
For prospective employees and career-seekers
Our online community that provides inspirational stories and helpful information.