Have you ever gone to the grocery store/local co-op without your grocery list or just decided to swing by on the way home from work? It is more convenient to be prepared, but you can always make great choices regardless of when or why you stop by to pick up a few things.
Most stores are set up very similarly. Most of the whole, real foods (not processed/not in a package) are on the perimeter of the store.
Here is what I recommend for making the best choices possible for you, your family, or anyone that you are shopping for!
Let’s start with produce: Before going to the store, research to see what produce is in season – you will get the best prices for anything that is in season. Here are some great examples for Summer:
Fruit: Strawberries, Blueberries, Watermelon, Grapes, Plums, Apples
Vegetables: Asparagus, Spinach, Broccoli, Cucumbers, Peppers, Carrots
Go to a farmer’s market – most towns have them – whatever they are selling is generally what is in season. You get it straight from the farmer, and usually get the best prices!
You can also join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Some farmers have these seasonally, some year-round. You pay the farmer directly, and weekly, you either pick up or have delivered your box of fresh produce (some farms have meats, eggs, cheeses, jams, and other delicious options!). You get a variety of food, and even get to try new veggies/fruits that you have never had before!
The best option is to go organic and non-GMO – whenever possible. Farmer’s markets/CSA’s may not state anywhere that they are organic or non-GMO, but definitely ask.
Also, when you find a great sale on veggies/fruit/meat, stock up! Most food items can be frozen!
If you are meat-eater, look for organic grass fed/grass finished meat. The label should state it clearly. If you aren’t sure, be sure to ask your butcher/meat department. More and more stores have these options available. I frequent local co-ops, so I usually don’t have any problems finding this type of meat, fresh or frozen.
Same goes for eggs/dairy or yogurt. It should state organic – stay away from grain fed anything, especially if you have food allergies/sensitivities, i.e. if the chicken ate corn, then you will be ingesting corn.
If you purchase packaged “food” items, make sure to read the labels carefully. Many of my clients have food sensitivities/allergies, and really need to make sure that the ingredients they are eating are not cross contaminated in the factory where their product/food was made.
If you aren’t sure about the quality of the product, research the companies’ website and/or call them directly and ask about where their food is sourced/cross contamination, etc. It is better to be safe before you eat it, instead of having a bad reaction later, and suffer unnecessarily.
When you are looking for oils, whether for baking or roasting or for dressing up a salad, there are a few things to look for. For example, if you are looking to cook with extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), find an oil that has a high heat point. Olive oil has minerals, enzymes and other compounds that don’t work well with heat, and can be susceptible to rancidity. It is better used for dressings and lower temperature cooking.
Try avocado oil or butter as a better option for baking/pan cooking, as they both have a higher heat point.
Just remember to choose the colors of the rainbow, as well as organic/non-GMO. If you eat well, you will feel well! Need help navigating the grocery aisles for better, healthier choices for you and your family? Feel free to reach out to me today!