Navigating the Supermarket – Part 1

With thousands of food choices out there and numerous name brands to choose from, how do we go about choosing the right foods to provide proper nutrition? Here are some smart shopping solutions for navigating the supermarket and making the most of your grocery shopping experience.

First and foremost, plan ahead.

Write down or at least have an idea of the meals you plan to eat for the week. Keep in mind how much time you have for cooking and food prep. If you only have one or two days to cook, prepare meal options for the entire week and/or stock up on some healthy convenience foods.

Organize the list to match the layout of your favorite grocery store.

It is too easy to become tempted by the thousands of processed junk food items, strategically placed to tease you as you walk down aisle after aisle. To avoid this, only go down the aisles that contain items on your grocery list. I rarely venture down the cookie or chip aisle because even the low-fat or low-sugar varieties are not on par with my goal to lean out. Those items are still loaded with artificial fillers and preservatives. I like to compare food to gasoline for a car. Food may be food and gas may be gas, but there is such thing as “bad” gas. With “bad” gas your car will still run (we hope) but it will likely kick and sputter and could ruin your car in the long run. Poor food choices can do the same to our bodies, so choose clean, unprocessed foods.

Learn to read labels.

Manufacturers of food products are required to list all the ingredients of most products available to us. The first ingredient listed will usually be the largest amount of any of the other ingredients. The second item will be the second most abundant, and the last item will be the least amount of all the ingredients in that particular product. Try to avoid products that contain the following items when listed in the first few of the ingredients list. Large amounts of any of these ingredients will certainly stall any progress to maintain a healthy and fit lifestyle. I personally try and avoid all products with any of these ingredients, with the exception of sodium, which if you train intensely, is necessary to replenish and can even help you grow.

  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Lard Shortening (any kind)
  • Oil (any kind)
  • Sugar
  • Artificial ingredients (coloring, flavoring, etc.)
  • Sodium (salt)
  • Preservatives
  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Any ingredient that is partially hydrogenated
  • Any other high fat or high sugar ingredients

>> Next is Part 2 of learning to Navigate the Supermarket.