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3 Tips to Buy Healthy Groceries on a Budget

3 Tips to Buy Healthy Groceries on a Budget

Sources can be hard to pinpoint. If someone asked you, “What’s the major source of junk food in the American diet,” and you answered, “Convenience stores, fast-food restaurants or vending machines,” you’d be in the wrong territory! The biggest source of junk food in the American diet is…the grocery store.

A University of Illinois study found that more than 50 percent of sugary beverages (totaling 210 calories daily per adult) and two thirds of all discretionary foods, like cookies, cakes and candies (totaling 439 calories a day), are purchased in supermarkets. And in 2013 an average family of four spent $740 a month at the grocery store—$103 of that on sweets! That means your food budget is being squandered on empty calories that starve the body and balloon the waist.

To increase the nutritional power of your purchases, here are three ways to shop smarter and thriftier at the supermarket.

  1. Shop with a list—and leave off the junk.
  2. Stick with the outside aisles where fresh produce and lean proteins are displayed.
  3. Read labels on prepared foods. When you know what most contain, you’ll put ‘em back on the shelf. A good way to start: Eliminate all foods with any added sugar or syrup or non-100 percent whole grain in the first five ingredients.

Remember: When it comes to your family’s nutritional health, you’re the source!

Medically reviewed in January 2019.

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