Shopping for ingredients may be more challenging than we would like to admit. More often than not, we end up buying so much stuff which we end up throwing away. The wastage is especially common with vegetables and fruits. Maybe there is a part of us that wants to eat more of the healthy stuff, but once we buy it, we tend to forget it. You may, therefore, find the vegetables rotting in the fridge, or getting soft of the countertop. So what do you need to do to shop for healthy ingredients? Let’s explore the ways below.
Shopping For Healthy Ingredients
You have chosen to take care of your nutrition. You find that you lack some of the essential ingredients in your pantry. It can get very hectic, trying to research the best ingredients. It is even more challenging if you are trying to read the labels at the supermarket before making a purchase.
Groceries or supermarkets also have so much choice. You can end up leaving with nothing in your basket because you could not make up your mind. If you have ever found yourself in this position, don’t worry, we will simplify the process for you.
· Have a Plan
Be clear about what you will consume within the week. You should then create a list that will guide your shopping. You save a lot of time because you do not have to run up and down the aisles looking for specific items. You also avoid a situation where you end up forgetting some of the ingredients you need to purchase.
· Shop Wisely
Everyone is looking for ways to cut back on their expenditure. You can save a lot of money by using coupons, taking advantage of discounts, among others.
· Do Not Shop On an Empty Stomach
It may sound weird, but if you shop on an empty stomach, you are likely to make impulse purchases. To satisfy your hunger pangs, you may end up buying unhealthy foods like sugary snacks.
· Know What to Buy
There are resources online that will guide you on what you must incorporate when looking for healthy ingredients. Ensure you have plenty of fruits, lean meat, vegetables, poultry, nuts, and whole grains. To stick to healthy eating, you must have a little variety; otherwise, you will get bored.
Consider healthy substitutions or alternatives. You may, for example, forgo white potatoes and instead buy sweet potatoes which are nutritionally more beneficial. While some people may find it difficult to eat fruits and vegetables, you must incorporate them into your daily meals.
· Should You Buy Organic?
There is a lot of conversation regarding organic food, and whether it is healthier than the conventional ones. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be any actual scientific backing to the ‘healthier’ claim. One thing we can be certain about is that you get to avoid chemical residues that may be in conventional foods.
Organic food is a little bit more expensive, but if you can afford it, why not? Even if your shopping cannot be wholly organic, carefully consider the conventional ones you buy. There are specific foods you must never purchase conventional. Such foods include tomatoes, potatoes, nectarine, strawberries, grapes, and hot peppers, among others. Such foods tend to retain very high levels of chemical residues and are therefore not a healthy option.
· Pre-Prepped Food
Some supermarkets or groceries take the stress out of preparing healthy meal options. You will find servings of pre-washed and pre-cut carrots, apples, among others. You even get healthy combinations, which will make it easier for you and your family to eat healthily. While they may be a little bit more pricey, consider it a good purchase, especially if you do not have time to do the prepping yourself.
· In The Supermarket
When in the supermarket, this is where all the confusion takes place. You should, therefore, do the following:-
- Take some time to go through the produce section so that you can pick a healthy combination of fruits and vegetables.
- Go crazy on the colors because it will tell you what kind of essential minerals are in each fruit or vegetable.
- Buy whole-grain products that have not undergone heavy processing. Aim for 4 grams of fiber per serving for the cereals. You should also consider buying whole wheat pasta and bread, grain mixes, quinoa, barley, and bulgur.
- Your shopping basket should also contain fish, poultry, and lean meat. Fish such as salmon are the best, and you get a healthy dose of Omega-3 fatty acids. You will also need dairy for calcium and vitamin D. Buy the non-fat or low-fat options, and get some variety with a mix of yogurt, cheese, milk, among others.
- Frozen foods and canned, dried foods are permissible if you need to stop food for specific situations. Such foods are especially useful during winter, when you may not be able to make it to the store anytime, you need items.
- Avoid buying junk, those that contain more than five ingredients, or contain ingredients you do not know. If you can avoid it, do not take the little ones along on your grocery shopping trips. You may end up buying unhealthy food options because you do not have the heart to turn them down.
It is possible to stock up on healthy ingredients by making the right food choices. The most important thing you need to do is plan your meals in advance so that you know precisely what you will require during the week. Making a list will help you budget appropriately, and you must ensure that you stick to it so that you avoid buying and necessary items. Include a healthy amount of fruits and vegetables, and you are good to go. Now the only thing you need to do is think of exciting recipes that you and your family will enjoy.