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Have you fallen victim to fast-food marketing and convenience foods? Would you like to improve your health and make a plan to get back on track with smart grocery shopping? Take responsibility for properly nourishing your body with these 7 smart tips on buying nutritious foods. f you want to learn more about nutrition and how it affects your health, you need to read these 7 smart tips for buying healthy food!
This post is all about smart ways to buy healthy food in a world of fast and ultra-processed foods.
Shop Smarter at the Grocery Store with These 7 Healthy Foods Buying Tips
The Keys to Consistently Buying Healthy Food
Fresh, good foods give our bodies everything they need to function well. Fresh and healthy food, like frozen fruits are perfect for the job! Buy organic foods whenever possible at the grocery store, and when you cannot find fresh vegetables, opt for frozen vegetables.
Why Buy Healthy Food?
We live in a time of amazing technological advancements. Technology is rapidly evolving, and much is being learned about the human diet and disease prevention.
Diet is a measurable way to improve health. The key is to start buying the healthiest foods available to give your body what it needs to keep up with our modern lifestyles!
However, it takes time to validate data. It takes 15-20 years to get new science into the medical school curriculum.
So, if you are overweight and feel like crap and wonder why your doctor hasn’t asked about your diet, it is because he or she has not been trained to do so.
Things are changing, research is ongoing, and more and more doctors are reading the literature, experimenting on their own, and adding to that body of knowledge.
Tip #1: Be a Wise Consumer
1. Ignore the Marketing
How do you buy food? If you are sitting at your desk listening to Spotify, and the McDonald’s ad made your mouth water, you are a victim to marketing.
If the food has a paid advertisement, it is a business. Its interest lies in making a profit.
Color Psychology in the Food Industry
Bright colors with reds and yellows are used in marketing to grab attention, evoke feelings of comfort and hunger, and get you to buy a product without even thinking about it.
So vote with your money when buying food. That is, support local farmers and businesses that you enjoy supporting, and don’t fall victim to the sway of advertising.
The next time you see the golden arches, remember their marketing strategy!
So, stop wasting money on foods that harm your health, and start investing in things that both bring you joy and improve your health!
Tip #2: Retrain Your Brain
Are you familiar with the reward pathway feedback loop in our brains? Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that when released, creates a feeling of pleasure.
The more a person repeats an addictive behavior that signals a release of dopamine in the brain, the more reinforced that behavior becomes.
Addiction is a biological process that changes our brain chemistry and behaviors. Whether it be from using drugs, scrolling social media, or having that sugary treat every afternoon, the same reward pathway is activated.
Wean Yourself Off Refined Sugar For Good
Kick the addiction and get in control of your brain. Sugar shouldn’t be considered a “treat.” Think about this before shopping for food. If you feel like a victim to sugar, then recognize it is an addiction, and treat it as such.
The next time you reach for a cola or cookie after taking a break from sugar, your tastes will have changed and that sugary treat will be too sweet and not nearly as enjoyable as you thought it would be.
Avoid added sugars at the grocery stores! Some marinara sauces contain up to 12 grams of added sugar.
Pro-tip! Shop for organic labels. These tend to avoid additives (like sugar!) and are healthier compared to similar products or brands.
Tip #3: Eat the Rainbow
We were told to eat our vegetables as children, and now we tell our children to do the same.
SO EAT YOUR VEGETABLES.
This does not include processed, packaged items that promise “a whole serving of vegetables!”
Everyone should eat a variety of veggies. Eat them raw or eat them cooked, and do your best to eat them in season and as fresh as possible.
Start with greens. Add spinach or kale into smoothies, stir fries, soups, and beans to get the nutrients into your food. They tend to take on the taste of other foods, and are easy to blend into recipes if you aren’t yet a fan of greens.
Buying seasonal foods can be a great way to support local growers and get nutrient-dense produce. Here is the guide to shopping in season.
Eat one big salad every day.
Top it off with a handful of nuts and seeds such as ground flax, hemp seed, and pecans. Include red and orange bell peppers, carrots, purple cabbage, red onion, olives and banana peppers.
Try sweet potatoes in the oven and even in soups! They make great mashed potatoes, French fries, and potato chips!
Eat berries every day. Buy raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, cherries, and grapes that are all colors, and eat them in smoothies, on oats, and as snacks.
Learn as much as you can about nutrition and how to buy food with a focus on high nutrient quality.
Tip #4: Make a Plan
Meal planning is a great way to improve your health and stay on track to buy healthy food. Write down 14 dinners and a few breakfasts that you love, and use this list to create a master shopping list.
Once you have a constant stock of all the ingredients, you can make meals effortlessly any time. Preparing your list will take time and effort, but you will save so much time and energy in the future.
No more decision fatigue, and extra trips to the store with the chance you will just opt for take-out.
Bulk Shopping For The Win!
I am an advocate for buying in bulk for certain items that can be stored away and saving money in the long run. This is a big way to save money, shipping, and packaging waste. Buy dried beans and whole grains (organic!) from farm co-ops like Sun Organic Farm. They have long shelf lives, are super affordable, and you get an impressive amount! What a smart choice!
You can find great and sustainable products on organic Amazon, too. Learn how to find the best, most-eco-friendly foods on Amazon below!
Be practical. Plans change, workdays get busy, and things will go bad and end up in the trash. All things considered, when it comes to perishable foods like meats and produce, buy what you will use in one or two weeks.
If you have a deep freezer, buy more when you find a sale.
Are you throwing good money away? Learn more about the environmental cost of food waste, and what you can do to improve the way your life impacts the health of the planet.
Tip #5: Focus on Nutrient-Dense Foods
In another effort to spend money wisely with buying food, think about the investment you make each time you go to the grocery store. For example, when shopping for a car, you want to get the most value for the money.
By applying this concept to food shopping, we bring intention and mindfulness to the weekly task.
First stop, the produce section! Look for a rainbow of fruits and vegetables. Focus on buying foods that supply the most nutrients first. A plant-based diet is a smart diet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t eat good sources of meat-based protein! Cover your bases with protein-rich foods and quality fats next.
In short, once your “needs” are met, then you can focus on your “wants.”
Tip #6: Revise Your Budget
Frugality is a great practice. Waste not, want not are words to live by.
Frugal and cheap are not the same.
Did you know that the United States spends less money on food than other western countries?
There are a lot of reasons why this is, but Americans consume more meats, grains, and high fat foods than the FDA recommends and eat cheap, fast foods versus whole, natural foods.
Thus, revising your budget might be necessary in order to prioritize your food needs.
Chances are, you are spending too much money on poor-quality foods, and not enough money on real, nutritious food.
The most important change you will make in your life, is when you decide your health is your number one priority.
If you eat meat, consider where and how it was created. Animals in poor conditions, eating a poor diet should not be considered food. After all, you are what you eat, right?
Learn More About Healthy Food
Fun fact! Chickens are not vegetarians.
The amount and quality of meat and eggs that you consume are extremely important. Choose wild-caught fish like salmon and trout, pasture-raised beef and poultry, and wild-game first and foremost. Buy organic if you cannot find pasture-raised animals and eggs.
Cage-free, vegetarian-fed eggs sounds attractive, but it is just a marketing tactic.
You should have a plate of 75-80% plants and 20-25% meat.
Why pasture-raised? Conventionally raised meats are fed conventionally-farmed GMO grains and soy which are grown with herbicides like Round-up.
Glyphosates kill off other life in the soil such as microbes and fungi, and has been shown to harm the biology of invertebrates, amphibians, and mammals.
Farming this way decimates the entire ecosystem of that land and leaves the soil in poor health. If you want to stop eating processed foods made from corn, soy, and other nutrient-depleted, pesticide-laden crops, then you must consider the meat you eat as well.
Tip #7: Sustainable Food is Healthiest
“Do the best you can with what you have, and when you know better, do better.” – Maya Angelou.
If you have the means to grow food and raise or hunt meat and fish, go for it. It is the most responsible and sustainable way to do it. That is a luxury that most of us do not have.
However, gardening can be done in many ways, by just about anyone. It is so rewarding. You could grow greens and herbs on the windowsill, microgreens in the kitchen, and tomatoes, peppers, or strawberries in containers on the porch.
A google search can help locate a community garden that you could participate in. Even better, you could start your own!
The next best thing to growing your own food is to support the farmers and businesses that provide sustainable food brands.
Shop mindfully, and educate yourself. Simply put, just do your best.
This post is all about smart ways to buy healthy food in a world of fast and ultra-processed foods.
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More on Sustainability
Knowing your food and taking responsibility for how it is produced is the best way to make a positive ecological impact.
You are reducing waste and resources while relying less on conventional agriculture and its use of pesticides and herbicides like glyphosate.
Most importantly, you will be eating the healthiest way possible!
Find out how to be more self-sufficient by gardening for sustainability.
How is your self-sufficient journey coming along?
Have you checked these essential gardening components off the list, yet? I would love to hear how it is going! Let me know about how gardening for self-sufficiency is working for you and your tribe by commenting below.
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