Wednesday, August 27, 2008

At the grocery store...

If you've already read my post about Foods to Avoid, then hopefully you caught the part about not focusing too much on what you can't eat and trying to focus on all that you can eat (an upcoming post). That being said, a good strategy at the grocery store can help you stay on track, avoid unnecessary temptation, and make the most out of your time spent shopping.

Rule number one:
Most of your time spent in the grocery store should be on the perimeter or the outside edge of the store. That's where all the really healthy stuff is: vegetables, fruits, nuts, cheeses, meat, and eggs. All those extra aisles in the store house all the empty calories you should avoid in the form of cereals, chips, crackers, sweets, pasta, etc. You don't need any of that.

Rule number two:
Some of the inside aisles do have some healthy stuff, but you have to know where to look. Canned vegetable aisles are good if you need some canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste or some other canned low-carb veggie (pass on the corn and peas). The condiment aisle is a good one to hit too. There you'll find mayonnaise, mustard, salad dressings, marinades, and sauces. I buy regular "real" mayonnaise, it has sugar, but very little. When buying mustards, dressings, etc. watch out for added sugars. Pass on mustard that has more than 1 gram of sugar per serving, dressings with more than 2 grams of sugar per serving, and sauces that have more than 5 grams of sugar per serving. These are rules of thumb, you'll develop your own judgment as time goes on, but for now, use mine.

Rule number three:
You're going to buy lots of fresh healthy foods. You can save a lot by shopping smart. Watch your local grocer's specials on meats. Every few weeks they'll have boneless skinless chicken breast on sale, then the next week they'll have some kind of steak on sale, then they'll have burger on sale. If you only buy when the stuff is on sale, then you'll save a bundle. I wait for these sales, buy a couple extra packs of whatever and pop them in the freezer for later. Fruits and veggies go on sale in the same way. You may not be able to freeze and thaw them in the same way, but you can certainly buy the stuff that's in season or on sale to save yourself some dough. I've found that going to a pick your own farm or a farmer's market is a great way to get the super freshest affordable fruits and veggies. Check out for where to find your local PYO.

I'd love to give you a dozen more rules, but I can't. It's really that simple. Just stay on the outside edge of the store, pop into only the aisles you need for some dressings and sauces, and grab the stuff you buy the most of, meats and veggies, when it's on sale. Buy local whenever you can to save some green and be green.

If you have some ideas or tips to save some green or be more green, drop me a comment or send me an email at


PS. Don't fear the fat!

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