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How to Shop the Store's Perimeter

person shopping for groceriesHow many times have you walked into a grocery store and didn’t know where to start? Better yet, how many times have you walked into a grocery store and didn’t know where to start, so you start perusing the aisles looking for anything that looks good? Wrong! This blog aims to teach you the wonders of shopping the store’s perimeter and what that can do for your overall health.

What Can I Find on the Perimeter?

Along the perimeter, you’ll find the freshest foods. These include produce, meat, and dairy. By incorporating more of these types of foods into your diet, you’ll have better control over how much fat and sodium you put into your body.

Shopping the perimeter also helps you avoid the preservatives found in many of the inner aisles. Preservatives like calcium phosphate and silicon dioxide are chemicals or additives in food that increase their shelf life. These prepackaged foods are also often high in sugar and highly processed, meaning that these foods have probably been sitting on the shelves for months, and many nutrients removed because of refining and processing. Exceptions to the inner aisles contain bottled water, tea, cooking spices, and nuts.

Shopping the perimeter first will help you fill your cart up with healthy options, which will help you avoid picking up unnecessary snack foods.

Where Do I Start on The Perimeter?

Shop the produce section first. This section has valuable fruits and vegetables high in minerals and vitamins like folate, vitamin C, and potassium. You mustn’t rule out frozen fruit and vegetables either. Frozen or fresh fruits and vegetables are also excellent sources of dietary fiber, which can help you maintain good gut health, prevent constipation, and can even reduce your risk of developing bowel cancer. This low fat and low-calorie food category also help reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. So, what are you waiting for? Hit the produce section today!

Step Two

The following section you should hit upon the perimeter is the meat section. You can find fresh meat, poultry, and fish at the butcher counter. Fresh meat, poultry, and fish are excellent sources of necessary protein, iodine, iron, zinc, and vitamin B12. It’s important to remember to buy fresh when you can because processed meats contain more salt and saturated fats than a lean cut of meat, poultry, or fish. The recommended serving size is three ounces or roughly the size of a deck of playing cards.

As with anything, moderation is key. You don’t want to ingest too much red meat in a day. That’s why it’s good to supplement the rich in iron and protein red meat for poultry and especially fish. Salmon is an excellent alternative to red meat. It contains high amounts of protein and iron while providing fewer calories and saturated fats.

Step Three

There’s plenty of low-fat and nonfat options these days that will help you get three servings a day (three cups).  Dairy contains calcium, phosphorus, vitamin A, vitamin D, riboflavin, vitamin B12, protein, potassium, zinc, choline, magnesium, and selenium. These nutrients are great for bone health and will prevent the onset of osteoporosis in adults and promote proper circulation, good vision, healthy skin, normal blood pressure, red blood cell production, and a healthy metabolism.

Exceptions To Shopping the Perimeter

While most of the perimeter is safe to shop, even the frozen fruits and vegetables, there are areas you’re going to want to stray from or traverse with caution. One of those sections is the bakery. While the bakery will have freshly made whole grain bread, which is better for you than the processed, prepackaged version in the aisles, they also offer sugary treats like cakes and pies. Remember, if it’s not in your home, then you won’t eat it.

Another section to avoid is the deli section and ready-to-go counter. Many of these foods, like fried chicken and pasta salad, are high in excessive carbohydrates, fats, and sodium. You should cook for yourself and forego the convenience of the ready-to-go counter.

Finally, the last place you should avoid even looking at is shelves at the check-out line. The store fills them with candy and sugary drinks that will do nothing to help you reach your health goals. To avoid all this temptation, make sure you don’t go to the store hungry. If you can, try to go after breakfast or lunch. Are you going after a long day at work? Pack a small, healthy snack to eat before you enter the store.

How We Help

Here at The Wellness Connection, we care about creating healthy yet attainable lifestyles for our patients. We believe that health is a right for everyone to have. That’s why we offer blogs like these to help inform our patients on what they can be doing to live life as happy and as healthy as possible. And, trust us, we know what we’re talking about.

While all our functional medical practitioners lead by example and promote their healthy lifestyles, our team also has two clinical nutritionists to help you develop a dietary plan that works best for your specific needs. If you or anyone you know is interested in our services, contact us today!


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