4 grocery store pitfalls and how to avoid them

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Trish Brimhall from Nutritious Intent shares the biggest pitfalls to watch out for when grocery shopping. 

No list – no good

This one is obvious, but still often neglected.  Take a few minutes to build and organize your shopping list based on your week or monthly menu.  If you know the layout of the store, writing the list in “walking order” can save lots of time, money and calories by not having to wander, backtrack and pointlessly peruse.

The outside perimeter isn’t always nutritionally superior

The border of the store usually has produce and dairy, but it also often contains processed meats, frozen desserts and baked goods that are often high in added fat, sodium and sugar.  Similarly, while the interior aisles do contain chips, and processed meal items high in sodium, fat and sugar, they also contain whole grains, nuts, produce (canned or frozen) and spices that inspire the home chef.  The take-home message here is to be a savvy shopper regardless of where you are in the store.

Shop with the wrist

Don’t trust the healthy-sounding buzzwords on packaging.  If it looks really health-trendy, chances are it’s more a matter of superior marketing rather than superior nutrition.  Always flip the wrist to look at the nutrition facts label  to compare products.  %DV (Daily Value) is a quick yet effective way to compare the nutrition content of comparable foods. 

Here’s the %DV life-hack: 5% is low, 20% is high.  If those numbers are too difficult to remember, then stick with below or above 10%. You want high %DV for things like fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals. You generally want to keep %DV low for fats (especially saturated fats) and sodium. When the new nutrition facts label comes out, be sure to watch for %DV for added sugars – that’s definitely one we should aim to keep low.

Be endcap-wary

Often the endcaps are offering impulse items that are rarely on your list.  Just because it shows up on a featured endcap doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a bargain money-wise or nutrition-wise.

Checkout blinders

Most stores count on your stationary time waiting in line to pick up an impulse candy bar or two.  But even if it is advertising healthier snack options, it will most likely be much pricier way of buying healthful snacks.  Also, it might just be adding in extra calories that you are better avoiding. 

Approaching the grocery store with with a plan, sticking to it and taking the time to compare as you shop will pay off in the long run – with a fatter wallet and a potentially thinner waistline.

Visit www.NutritiousIntent.com for more ideas and tips.

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