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52: Guide to Getting through the Grocery Store 

September 30, 2019

In Point of Health episode 52, "Guide to Getting through the Grocery Store," Melissa Shiah, Manager, Population Health for BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York offers simple tips to make the grocery store a positive, healthy experience.

Episode Highlights

Is it really necessary to preapre to go grocery shopping? (1:27)

Yes.  Grocery shopping is great place to get in the mindset of thinking positive in fulfilling experiences. You change your mentality from “I have to go grocery shopping”, you can go into “I get to go grocery shopping to get healthy food.” You also can start getting proactive in budgeting yourself, thinking of events for the week after work or school; and this can help you save money while food shopping.

Before going to the grocery store, what should we do first? (2:30)

  • Step1: Make a list and stick to it
  • Step 2: Don’t go hungry
  • Step 3: Get inspiration from what’s around you for a new recipe

Arriving at the grovery store, what's next? (3:33)

Shop the Perimeter:

Produce First:

BENEFITS: no nutrition label = healthy!

  • Fruits and vegetables provide essential vitamins, minerals and fiber
    •  Iron, protein, calcium, magnesium,
  • Variety matters! Each color has different nutritious value – “eat the rainbow”

 Highlight: Leafy greens = spinach, kale, broccoli, kale, chard = cancer fighters, anti-inflammatory, easy to utilize in many different dishes

Buy what is in season!

Getting through the grocery store, what to look out for (6:00)

  • Buying what’s in season, as it is more cost effective
  • Food that is accessible for grab and go
  • Adding in leafy greens to  your diet
  • Dairy = calcium; aim for low sugars and yogurts and saturated fats in cheese

Benefits of meat consumption (8:40)

Skinless, boneless, filet, ground, or loin – these tend to be the healthier options. The more lean the meat, the more protein intake and less saturated fat. In terms of deli meats, avoid any meat that has visible fats or be sure to trim them off. Making your way down to cold cuts, be mindful of how the meat is prepared – “honey” or “Cajun” has additional sugars and more added sodium.

What is the best way to incorporate whole grains into a healthy diet? (10:48)

Whole grains, such as pasta, quinoa, bread, bagels, rice, etc., because they are intact and full of fiber, vitamins and minerals. This is because they are UNPROCESSED, which means they have not been stripped of nutrients during processing, like white flours and grains are

  •    Fiber: helps keep us full, stabilizes blood sugar, helps reduce cholesterol, and sustains energy for longer periods of time
  •    Vitamins and minerals: B vitamins, iron, magnesium, and selenium
    •    examples: quinoa, brown rice, whole wheat, barley, farro, millet, buckwheat

Are frozen foods still an option when eating healthy on a budget? (12:16)

Frozen foods are very budget friendly and won’t spoil as quickly as fresh produce. Some frozen foods are considered “flash frozen,” meaning they are frozen after being picked and are just nutritious and fresh as fresh produce. You can also control the amount you are using without having to worry if the food will go bad. It is important to note:

  • Frozen veggies that are in a sauce form may be higher in sodium and calories.
  • Look for frozen fruits that have “No sugar added”
  • Some frozen meals may be higher in sodium, so it is good to find foods with the lowest sodium option as well as having more vegetables in the ingredients list

What makes something authentically organic? (13:13)

The term “organic” refers to any produce that is grown with natural fertilizers, such as manure or compost, as well as controlling the weeds naturally by hand weeding, mulching and controlling pests using natural methods (birds, insects, traps) or naturally derived pesticides. These maintenance methods are what cause organic produce to be more expensive. Regardless if a product or organic or not, they contain the same level of nutrients.


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