If you haven’t already noticed, the average grocery store is a gauntlet of temptation. A universe of unhealthy food is there for the taking, from countless varieties of cookies to all the ice cream you can ever want to eat, from frozen pizza to countless candy bars and fruit snacks. But there’s actually one universal tip for staying healthy when grocery shopping, and it’s easier to accomplish than you think.
To put it simply: Stay on the periphery.
Take a lap around the perimeter of your grocery store, and it will be instantly clear that the healthier foods aren’t located down the aisles, where all the non-perishable, packaged foods are. The edges are where the fruits, vegetables, bulk nuts, dairy products, eggs, meat, seafood, deli counter and fresh breads all are. Now compare that to the packaged, processed foods that nutritionists never buy in the aisles, and it becomes pretty obvious where the healthier foods can be found.
The American Heart Association recommends eating nutrient-rich foods in order to control weight, cholesterol and blood pressure. The AHA also advises eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, skinless poultry, fish, nuts and legumes. And these whole, unprocessed foods are, by and large, found on the periphery of the supermarket.
So the next time you’re in the grocery store, challenge yourself to shopping around the perimeter and only venturing into the aisles to pick up healthy pantry staples like dried legumes and chicken stock. It’s just one of the many ways to keep yourself (and your family) healthy.