Shopping healthy on a shoestring budget isn’t as hard as you may think.
It just requires a bit of knowledge and planning.
You need to know where to buy specific items, ensure to bring along a shopping list – and then try sticking to it! No, you do not need to buy that 2 for 1 special, even if it is on a special… Yes, you really don’t need 48 rolls of toilet paper – besides where the heck would you store them?
But when you get into the store, which is the best direction to take to ensure a healthy basket? Did you even know that there is an actual method to ensure your basket is filled with the right kind of food? Surprisingly it is easier than you think.
First and foremost, never shop when you are super hungry because you’re bound to reach for unhealthy things like chips and chocolates.
When you walk in, make your way to the outside isles and work your way in. Basically, all the healthier, fresh & frozen foods can be found in outer ends of the store, while all the packaged more refined foods are found in the middle.
On the outside, you will find the fresh fruits & vegetables, dairy products, eggs, and frozen items. Remember, not all frozen food is unhealthy. Yes, avoid the frozen pizzas, pies and ready-made meals, but load up on the frozen fruits and vegetables.
Did you know that a most frozen fruit and vegetables are highly nutritious, as they have been frozen at their peak freshness?
The nutritional quality of a vegetable or fruit starts to decline from the point of being picked, meaning that by the time it is prepared, packaged & delivered to the store, a lot of the nutrition has been destroyed or lost.
Once you have worked your way through the outer aisles, start moving inward. Don’t get me wrong, the inner aisles do have a fair share of quality food, but be weary and read the labels. Remember, if you can’t spell it, you shouldn’t eat it. Preservatives, colourants, and added sugars are often a food trap.
Depending where you shop, the aisles do have their benefits, so look out for flours, nut butters, powders, beans, oats, healthy oils, legumes, canned fish etc, (consider mercury content when eating substantial amounts of fish – fish lower in mercury include salmon, shrimp, tuna, trout, crab, haddock).
Aisles to avoid!
The cold drink aisle (fizzy, sugary no – no’s!), chips & sweets (no… just no), and the bakery – but you smell so good you beautiful chelsea bun! **walks away and ignores chelsea buns cries to be eaten…
Shopping healthy, even on a budget, is about shopping smarter and planning. My go to places in Joburg include; Dischem, Impala Fruit and Veg, Carriera Fruit and Veg, Food Lovers Market, Dunkeld Fruit & Veg & The Jasmyn Farmers market (Hartebeespoort).
Where do you shop regularly? Let me know in the comments.