December – Ending 2016 with Gatherings and Celebrations!
While this can be the most wonderful time of the year, bringing gatherings of loved ones and a lot of fun, it also can be a time of stress and grabbing convenience foods on the go. This month, learn how to shop smart and have a healthy holiday season.
It’s not too late to start now with healthy eating while still enjoying holiday meals. To ensure a healthier holiday season and a solid foundation for a healthy New Year, start by making healthy choices in the grocery store.
Here are some tips and tricks to help you make the best decisions for nutritious meals this holiday season and in 2017.
- Plan ahead for the week’s meals and any holiday meals by making a grocery list. In addition to saving extra trips to the store for forgotten ingredients, this will help you avoid impulse buys. Planning and stocking plenty of ingredients for healthy recipes during the holiday season will make them easier to prepare when the occasion arises.
- Try to purchase foods that will help you serve meals that fit the MyPlate food guide. Purchase plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, protein-rich foods, and low-fat or fat-free dairy. Planning well-balanced meals will provide you with adequate nutrients and will help you stay fueled and ready to manage any holiday stress.
- Shop the perimeter, where fresh foods such as produce, eggs, dairy, meats and poultry are located. Avoid the center aisles, where junk foods and highly processed foods are located, unless absolutely necessary.
- Choose frozen vegetables rather than canned vegetables, which are higher in sodium. If you do buy canned vegetables, rinse them off to reduce sodium content.
- Buy ingredients in bulk to stock up on healthy staples and get large quantities of foods you frequently use for a lower price than buying smaller quantities.
- If you’re looking for healthier, less processed foods, take a look at the ingredient list and try to choose foods with fewer ingredients, which means less processing.
- Try to shop on a full stomach because you’re more likely to stray from your grocery list with impulse purchases if you shop while hungry.
- If you’re looking for on-the-go snack options, try choosing granola bars, single-serve yogurt or more fruits or vegetables instead of higher-calorie and higher-fat options.
- Use a smaller shopping cart or basket, which gives you less room to add unnecessary items and may help you prevent unhealthy purchases.
- Try to avoid your grocery store’s peak “rush hour,” which means longer lines that give you more time standing in front of candy and soda you might be tempted to buy.
- Knowing what fruits and vegetables are in season will help you purchase the freshest, and often most appealing, produce. For example, apples, oranges, pears, Brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes and collard greens are in season in the winter months.
Thinking ahead and putting a plan on paper can help you steer clear of an overly unhealthy holiday.
Have a Happy Healthy Holiday Season!