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The Princeton Longevity Center Medical News

Food Shopping Tips for the New Year

By: Karen McPartland, RD
Senior Dietitian

Are you one of the many people who made a New Year’s resolution that is diet related?  Whether it’s to lose weight, to eat more fruits & vegetables, to not skip meals or to eat less “junk food”, I have some food shopping tips that can help you in following through with your resolution!

  1. Make time for food shopping.  It may not be as enjoyable as shopping at the mall, but food shopping IS more important!  What you buy at the food store is what you are going to be fueling your body with, so make it a priority by designating a specific day and time each week to go food shopping.  Allot yourself adequate time so that you are not rushing, which can lead to impulse buying (See #2 below!).
  2. Make a list before you go!  Have you heard the saying “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”?!  Make a list of the foods that will help you to meet your goals.  If you don’t buy the foods you are trying to eat more of, then you won’t be eating more of them!  Plan what your meals will be each day so that you know what you need to buy.  Having a list will also help you to avoid buying foods on impulse.  
  3. Divide your cart by aiming to fill at least half of it with fruits & vegetables.  Make your cart colorful because the more color you have in your cart, the wider variety of nutrients you will take in and the more exciting your diet will be!
  4. Don’t hesitate to opt for convenience when it comes to fruits & vegetables.  If you fill half of your cart with fresh fruits & vegetables, but don’t have time to chop and prepare them, you’ll lose money and nutrition.  So, if you need to, go for convenience: buy frozen vegetables, peeled baby carrots, pre-chopped fruit, bagged salads, etc.  Choosing these healthy convenience foods will make eating these foods just as convenient as opening a package of potato chips!   
  5. Shop the perimeter of the store, but head into some aisles as well!  The inside aisles of a supermarket usually contain mostly processed foods.  But, don’t skip the aisles that contain whole grain bread, whole grain pasta, brown rice, canned or dried beans, canned tuna/salmon, natural nut butters, nuts, etc.  When you are tempted by other non-nutrient dense products in these aisles, look at the ingredient list (not just the Nutrition Facts label) and look for the products with the least number of ingredients and avoid products with ingredients that are hard to pronounce or that are artificial.


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