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Grocery Store 101 – Healthy Meal Choices Begin Here

people shopping at grocery store in wisconsin

Eating right isn’t always easy. And on busy weeknights, it can be especially tough. After a long day at the office, preparing a healthy and well-balanced meal seems like an intimidating task. It’s no wonder many of us are tempted to save ourselves the effort and just hit a drive-thru. But, eating out regularly can be expensive. Plus, when we order food instead of make it we usually end up consuming more calories, fat and cholesterol.

The good news is there are simple ways we can help our waistlines and wallets at the same time. Good nutrition can be budget-friendly and it doesn’t have to be time consuming.

Stick to the outside aisles of any grocery store for the healthiest options. This is where you’ll find fruits, vegetables, fresh herbs, dairy, proteins and grains. Make sure to check out the information below before your next trip to the grocery store.

Produce – You get the most nutrients for your dollar in the produce section. Aim to get as much variety as you can and try out new ways to prepare fruits and vegetables. Adults need at least seven cups of produce daily to meet nutrient requirements. A good way to get the most nutritious meal is to colorize your plate. The more produce colors present, the more nutrients your body will receive.

Dairy – Low-fat dairy options should play an important role in your diet. Yogurt, milk, and cottage cheese are a great source for calcium. Just make sure you are reading the labels and being careful about your daily caloric intake.

Protein – Lean, white meats and seafood are healthy options found in the deli. Instead of deli lunchmeat, try using whole or partial chicken or turkey.

Grains – Make sure you buy real whole grain options. The first ingredient listed should always be 100 percent whole grain. Avoid marketing gimmicks that say “with wheat” or “with whole grain”.

Fresh Herbs – When preparing your foods, use fresh herbs to add flavor instead of salt. Foods with a lot of sodium can contribute to high blood pressure. Substituting fresh herbs for seasoning is a healthy and delicious alternative.

chart showing ideal plate for healthy diet

Do you have any healthy shopping or meal prep tricks? Make sure to share your advice below.

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