In general, when you go to a supermarket for your groceries, how is it laid out? Where are the fruits, vegetables, dairy, and fresh meat? Where do the organic and ‘natural’ foods tend to be? Where are the frozen dinners, snacks, and other processed foods?
Easy……The healthier foods tend to be on the perimeter of the store, whereas the processed foods are located more in the aisles.
This is not to say that everything on the perimeter is good and everything in the middle is bad. After all, the hot dogs are usually not too far away from the lean chicken and the doughnuts are next to the multigrain bread in the bakery. Likewise, items like olive oil and whole grain cereals are found in the aisles. Just like frozen vegetables are found in the same aisle as frozen pizza.
Therefore, this advice is just a rule of thumb, and not an absolute rule in regards to shopping. The important thing is to be smart when shopping. Buying frozen broccoli and roasting or steaming it at home is much healthier than buying the box of frozen broccoli and cheese, even though both dishes contain broccoli. Likewise, getting sliced bologna at the deli is likely not healthier than getting pre-packaged turkey breast. Just because the deli has freshly made fried chicken (and it is on the perimeter) does not make it any healthier than the frozen chicken nuggets.
When in doubt, look at the label and compare the calories and ingredients. If you can’t pronounce an ingredient, chances are you do not want to eat it.
This is a good place to start, but is not the only thing you need to do to lose weight and be healthy. More diet and nutrition tips will be presented in future blogs, so please keep reading.
- Gustat J, O'Malley K, Luckett BG, Johnson CC. Fresh produce consumption and the association between frequency of food shopping, car access, and distance to supermarkets. Prev Med Rep. 2015;2:47-52. PubMed PMID: 26844049