Grocery Shopping 101

Dr. Todd Ferguson

What is “Holistic Grocery Shopping?”

Holistic grocery shopping centers around selecting foods that are as close as possible to their original form.  In, other words, foods are closer to their whole form and less processed. Now, this might look different for each of our patients. After all, each person has unique dietary preferences and needs, and we are all at different phases in our nutritional journey. 

While some patients require more time in the produce section to grab everything they need for a week’s worth of vegetarian meals for their cleanse and others may require a higher quantity of fish, poultry and grass-fed beef for a keto or Paleo dietary lifestyle. Let’s look at some helpful tips and tricks that will save you time and money and, most importantly, improve the quality of the foods you’re putting into your body!

  • Plan Your Meals. Once a week, sit down (with or without your family!) and map out your meals for the upcoming week. You’ll need to keep a couple of things in mind while you’re planning, such as your food intolerances and dietary style (vegetarian, gluten-free, high-potassium, keto, etc.) and how you typically eat your meals (at work, on the go, at the dining table, without fridge/microwave access, etc.). 
  • Try New Recipes. Aim for at least 1 new (simple) recipe a month, focusing especially on recipes made with fresh vegetables. Pinterest, YouTube, and other free online resources can be very helpful in this process.  Or if you want to skip the searching and receive recipes and menu planning customized for you inquire about our Nutrition Consults. Get your family involved in the recipe selection if that will help them to be more enthusiastic at mealtime.  Eventually you’ll find one you like that will then become part of the regular rotation.
  • Make a Shopping List. You will save time, energy, and money if you make a shopping list and stick to it. If you’ve selected mostly whole foods (vegetables, fruits, dairy, meats, nuts, legumes, and grains) then your list won’t likely take you down the center grocery aisles much. Fresh, whole foods are typically found along the perimeter and outer aisles of the store. 
  • Opt for Organics. Especially when you’re buying fruits and veggies that are on the Dirty Dozen List (https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/), like strawberries, celery, tomatoes, and apples, try to go for the organic options to ensure that you’re not adding extra chemicals to your cuisine.
  • Try a New Shopping Experience. Different markets offer different experiences, and it can be fun and rewarding (and often less expensive) to try out a Farmer’s Market, a specialty food store, or even a family-owned neighborhood market. You may discover a new fruit or vegetable or a new way of preparing some of your favorites.
  • Read the Nutrition Panels and Ingredient Labels. Keep a lookout for hidden sugars (which usually end in -ose, like glucose, sucrose, and fructose), excessive salt, ingredients that contain a lot of numbers (which are often additives, colorings, flavorings, and preservatives), and fiber content (higher is better). Keep in mind that, the more ingredients listed on the label, typically the more processed the food is. And finally, remember that ingredients are listed in order of greatest-to-least amount. So, if cherries are listed last on the label of your cherry fruit chew…you are likely to be eating a cherry-flavored sugar bar. 
  • Avoid Trans Fat. These typically show up on a label as “partially hydrogenated [oil of some sort].  Trans fats are made through a process to enhance the shelf life of a product and are very bad for us (especially cardiovascular health).  Some countries have made them illegal to be used in food, but they are still utilized in processed food in the United States.

Like any other major lifestyle adjustment, shopping the holistic way doesn’t need to be an all-or-nothing commitment. Try to make one or two small changes each week to the way you shop and cook. If you have a friend or a family member who is good at menu planning or meal prepping, get together for a planning session or a shopping trip.  If life is hectic and time limited or you simply want the best, we are here to support you and can help with menu planning and recipes. 

You will begin to notice positive changes in the way you feel when you nourish your body with nutrient-rich, healthy, whole foods. We challenge you to try holistic grocery shopping for a month and let us know how it goes in the comments. We wish you healthful shopping!

Build Health. Live Well.

November 1, 2022

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