Expert advice, Nutrition
Secret To Choosing Healthy Groceries

Dr. Lakshmi K

Food Scientist

6 min read

As the saying goes, ‘you are what you eat,’ and you eat whatever is on UR grocery list. If you bring in lots of junk food into UR house, that’s what you’ll eat. Making smart choices in the grocery store is the key to proper nutrition, for yourself and UR family. While some people love grocery shopping, others see it as a cumbersome task. Shopping for healthy groceries can be the first step to becoming healthy if you do it right. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive, it just requires a bit of planning and knowledge. Having spent a good part of my career helping clients become healthy, one of the first things to prioritise is healthy food shopping, and this is how you can do it. Pick up a few simple shopping tips that make UR trip to the supermarket fun and not boring. We want to make sure U have a blueprint for a cart full of groceries that won’t bust UR budget or diet.
01. Stick to UR checklist
Before heading to the supermarket, plan and take stock of what ingredients you require to prepare healthy meals and snacks for the week. Having a well-planned grocery list gets you in and out of the store quickly and makes you stick to UR healthy eating plan without wandering.
02. Take UR family along
Involve UR kids/family when UR shopping and preparing food. This will inculcate healthy eating habits during early adolescence that can be passed on through generations
03. Dont shop when UR hungry
When you shop on an empty stomach, you tend to fill-up on impulse purchases that are unhealthy. Eat a light meal or snack before heading to the grocery store and you will more likely stick to UR list.
04.Choose rainbow colours
Start by filling UR cart with a variety of colourful fresh fruits and vegetables. Remember colour is healthy. The different colours of the rainbow reflect the different vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients found in fruits and vegetables. Have an eye for the colour of the food and the type of nutrient it contains. For example, Vitamin C (orange, yellow colour) is available in oranges, mangoes, lemons and green and yellow peppers.

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The colour of UR food


Orange includes carrots and cantaloupes that are rich in antioxidants
Mineral “iron”

Mineral “iron” is rich in reddish-brown coloured foods such as ragi, jaggery, liver and dark green leafy vegetables

Beetroot contains a purple pigment filled with antioxidants

The different colours of the rainbow reflect the different vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients found in fruits and vegetables.

05. Go seasonal & local
Buy seasonal and locally sourced fruits and vegetables near local markets around you.
Oranges & amlas

Oranges and amlas are available in winters in India, and these are great for keeping flu at bay.
Watermelons and cucumbers

Watermelons and cucumbers in the summer help you replenish fluids lost through UR sweat.
Fruits & veggies that use high-pesticides for growth. If possible try choosing organic versions, grow these at home or try to find alternatives.

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6. Fill UR cart with these must-haves
Meet the pyramid guidelines by filling UR cart with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts dairy, fish and poultry.

Carbohydrates include whole grains such as multi-grain bread, millets of various kinds, brown rice, etc.

Protein, choose dairy form local sources, whole lentils (avoid split), beans, legumes, nuts, paneer and soy that’s manufactured ethically.
Healthy oils

Healthy oils such as extra virgin olive oil (for salads) and sunflower, rice bran, peanut oil, mustard oil and sesame oil (for Indian cooking). If you are utilising ghee or coconut oil in UR cooking, be sure to use it sparingly.
7. Check-out the food labels
Read the manufacturing and expiry date of the foods and learn to read the nutrition labels correctly. Large print on labels claim “low fat,” “low sugar,” “all-natural.” Be sure UR purchasing something healthy and not being swayed by labels. Most of the time, when these boxes say they are low-sugar check the fat content and when they say low-fat check out the sugar content. Juices that say “contains no added sugar” are made from fruit concentrates. Buying fruits and juicing them at home is the best option to control UR sugar intake. Avoid indulging in food containing trans-fats or trans-unsaturated fatty acids. These are facts that rarely appear in nature but food processing has made them abundant.

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08 Follow the Altman rule
When you see the calories of a particular food on the label, always notice the “serving size” and compare it with the total weight of the product. For example, is the calorie content on the label for the entire pack of biscuits or just for two biscuits – one serving?Follow the Altman rule.
Food companies don’t have to report ingredients that are less than 0.5 grams in the specific serving size. This can confuse you and convince you that the food is healthy.
9. Pick minimally processed foods
Anything canned or processed has a lot of salt and sugar. Stay away from overly processed foods with ingredients that you’ve never heard of or sound like chemistry-lab ingredients. Choose foods that contain five ingredients or less and skip foods with artificial ingredients, additives and things you can hardly pronounce.
10. Shun discounted foods
Stay away from any food items when they are on sale or come at a discounted price. Even if you choose to buy, always check the expiry date of the discounted products because they might not be fresh or are close to their expiry date. For example, oils tend to oxidise when they are nearing their expiry date.
11. Reach for the back and dig for the fresh
The smart supermarkets have the oldest stock in front or the top shelf to get rid of them quickly. The back row always has fresh food items like; bread, leafy greens, fruits and other vegetables.
12. Bill and Bounce
After you are done shopping UR grocery checklist, head straight to billing to avoid the middle aisles where there is junk food! Voila!! You have successfully completed the first step to becoming healthy.

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