What are some healthy shopping tips?

Lisa Oz
Health Education
In general, it’s best to limit your time in any center aisles of a supermarket. Yes, there will be things you need there, like canned goods and spices and paper plates, but it’s also where most of those “nonfoods” are hanging out. One thing I do to avoid them is to shop for “the good stuff” first. I begin in the produce section and fill up my cart with fruits and vegetables. My next stop is the whole grains, dried beans, and nuts sections -- items that you can often buy in bulk. By the time I’ve picked up the milk and eggs, or a bottle of vinegar, there’s not much room left in my cart, and I’m trying to balance things in a way that won’t crush the tomatoes which are now somewhere near the bottom. Finally, as I walk past an aisle with packaged, processed foods, it’s like playing Jenga: one additional item and I would be heading for a shopping cart disaster.
Doreen Rodo
Nutrition & Dietetics

Shopping sometimes can be a mystery because there are so many new products and it's sometimes hard to tell if they are good for you. Some supermarkets have a symbol that determines if an item is healthy so while you are at the store, look to see if your supermarket has a system. Otherwise, you will never go wrong with selecting fruits and vegetables, lean meats; low-fat or 2% cheeses, light yogurts, 1% or skim milk, and wheat breads or English muffins (look for those with 3 grams of fiber or more per serving). Read the label and look for pasta and rice that has some fiber. There are many new types of pasta on the shelves that are a good source of nutrients, for example, "Barilla Plus" and "Smart Taste." As far as snacks go, choose baked chips, light popcorn, low-fat frozen yogurt, and frozen all fruit bars. If your supermarket sells the "Kashi" brand, look at those products because their bars and cookies make a healthy snack. In short, try to take the mystery out of shopping by being prepared and make sure that you have time to read the labels. Once you find a healthy product that you like, be sure to include that on your list every week.

Joy Dubost, PhD
Nutrition & Dietetics
Going to the grocery store without a shopping list is a recipe for disaster. In this video, Dr. Joy Dubost reveals her tips for shopping the healthy way.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Having a certain strategy when you go into the grocery store is key. It’s crucial to avoid unnecessary sugars and carbohydrates and you can avoid them by only shopping the perimeter of your store, where fruits, vegetables, meats, and dairy products are kept. You will find all the unhealthy packaged foods and sodas in the middle aisles.

A second tip is to consider going into the supermarket with a list and a time limit. This will prevent you from idling into many of those all-too-tempting middle aisles and save you from splurging. It might also be beneficial to use your phone or other mobile device to create and store your grocery list throughout the week, so that you aren’t listing whatever comes to mind at the last minute.

Finally, never go to the grocery store on an empty stomach. It’s a recipe for disaster. Have a healthy snack 15 to 30 minutes before you go to the store, or carry a bag of walnuts or raisins with you so that you’re not salivating in front of the cookies and chips.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.