When you next visit your grocery store, why not tackle the shopping list like a ninja? Follow these easy ninja tricks and tips to become a master of the healthy grocery run.
1. Stick to the perimeter of your grocery store. Big chain store or small, local supermarket. One grocer to another. They’re all usually set up the same way: produce, eggs, dairy, meat, seafood and baked goods line the outer edges of the store. What’s left? Aisles upon aisles of boxes, cans and packages (sodium and sugar and preservatives, oh my!) sitting in the centre. While you may have to dip into the core of the supermarket for a few whole grains and possibly – especially at this time of year – a package of frozen fruit for your morning smoothie, steer clear of the area whenever possible. The fresher food lies in the periphery. Plus, less packaging translates to fewer food labels to peruse and, therefore, a quicker shopping trip.
2. Keep an eye out for produce being sold in bulk or at a discounted price. A great deal or heaping piles of a certain type of fruit or vegetable is often a good indication of seasonality. Local items at their peak of freshness are less expensive. Plus, transporting out-of-season produce from afar not only translates to higher prices, but also to a decrease in nutrients.
3. Frozen fruits and veggies aren’t always evil. Yes, fresh is usually best. However, in the dead of winter, that can often limit your selection of produce. Opting for frozen berries rather than reaching for a pricey pint from out of town is a budget- and health-conscious option…not to mention an environmental one. A few things to keep in mind when going frozen: produce should include merely one ingredient – the fruit or vegetable in question. Look for labels that read “flash frozen,” which indicates that the item was frozen at its peak of freshness without degrading vitamin or minerals.
4. Let your eyes wander. Where items get stocked on a supermarket shelf is anything but random. Products found at eye-level are often more expensive, popular brand names…but that doesn’t mean they’re healthier. Don’t overlook cheaper options simply because they’re not in your line of sight. Comparison shop and don’t be afraid to tippy toe (hello calves!) or squat down to get the healthy buys you’re looking for.
5. Bring along your reading glasses. Yes, if you must purchase food in a box, package or can of any kind, first flip it over and quickly scan that ingredients list. Five ingredients or less: good. High fructose corn syrup, sugar, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, chemicals, additives and items you can’t pronounce: put it back.
Good luck shopping ninjas!
K2 Martial Arts