Shopping for real food is super easy when you have access to a fantastic health food supermarket like Whole Foods. What happens though when you don’t live near one of these grocery stores and only have access to mainstream type grocery stores. I’m here to tell you that shopping for real food is possible no matter where you grocery shop on a regular basis. Just follow these tips and you will be a real food shopping pro in no time!
Most of my friends are busy moms like you. We barely have time to get a shower on a regular basis so you know there is no extra time in our schedules to run from store to store. We choose a store where we can knock out all of our shopping needs in one trip. Just because we are busy doesn’t mean that we want to feed our family fast or processed food on a regular basis. The good news is that it is getting easier and easier to shop for good real food at our regular grocery stores. Thank goodness! As we vote with our dollars, we are seeing grocery stores taking notice and stocking more and more of the foods that we used to only be able to find at specialty and health food stores.
Today, I am sharing 10 tips that really help me to stick to my real food shopping list while I shop at my regular grocery store. Get ready to start reading labels. You are looking for foods that have a short list of ingredients and ingredients you can pronounce. This may slow you down for a few grocery trips, but soon you will figure out your staples and you will be back to running through the store as usual.
10 Tips for Buying Real Food at Your Regular Grocery Store
1. Tip one I’ve probably said a million times here at Juggling Real Food and Real Life……….Shop the perimeter of the store. You will find fresh fruits and vegetables in the outer sections of the store. This is also where you find dairy products, eggs, and meat. The highly processed packaged foods are located in the middle aisles of the stores. There is no need to walk up and down every aisle of the store. See! This will save you time too.
2. If you can’t find much fresh produce, look at purchasing frozen fruits and vegetables. Frozen foods are picked at the peak of freshness and then frozen. They are not highly processed and just as healthy as fresh produce. Watch out for the packages with extra sauces and sugars. Make sure you are buying simple frozen produce.
3. Purchase grass-fed beef. Look for sales and stock up. I have even found grass-fed beef for a lower cost than conventional beef at times. Cows are designed to eat grasses. The healthier the cow, the healthier the meat will be.
4. When purchasing seafood choose wild-caught over farmed. The most natural diet possible usually produces the healthiest animals and food for you.
5. Avoid food products that have sugar as one of the first few ingredients. Sweeteners come with many different names and this can be tricky. Do a little extra reading and then you will be able to choose products more easily. Check out this guide for help.
6. When choosing bread, crackers, and pasta look for 100% whole wheat. Avoid the ingredients “wheat” or “enriched wheat”.
7. Look for simple ingredients like brown rice, quinoa, and beans. Make your own side dishes rather than purchasing the packets with questionable ingredients and tons of salt.
8. Look for organic brands. Muir Glen, Bob’s Red Mill, Newman’s Own, and Made in Nature are brands that I have seen at my local stores, including Walmart. You might have to look a bit because they usually stock less of these items, but you can find them.
9. Look for these symbols on your packaged foods. They help take some of the guess work out of buying healthier food and avoiding harmful ingredients.
10. Try an App! Of course, there is an app for real food. There are apps for everything. Here are two that I really like. Leave me a comment and let me know which ones you are currently using.
Dirty Dozen – I really like this app this because it helps me remember which produce is considered Dirty Dozen meaning buy organic if you can and which is Clean Fifteen meaning it has less pesticide residue as part of the farming process. This really helps me to save money and reduce time running from store to store.
Find Real Food – this app is a version of the Weston A Price Shopping Guide. I like to scroll through looking for the healthier brands and their logos. This helps me to spot these brands in the store easier. There are also more specific searches you can do and lots of fantastic information.
Time to go shopping! Let me know what healthy foods you are finding at your local grocery store. How do you save time, money, and make sure you are eating the most real food that you can find?