Healthy Grocery Shopping

By Karen Larkin, eHow Contributor

Healthy Grocery Shopping
Healthy grocery shopping begins with healthy meal planning. The Mayo Clinic bottom-lines healthy eating, telling us to weave 10 simple foods into our diets: apples, red beans, blueberries, spinach, broccoli, sweet potatoes, salmon, wheat germ, vegetable juice and almonds. Start with these items for your shopping list.

Meal Planning
According to the United States Department of Agriculture Food Pyramid, a 2,000-calorie diet consists of 6 grain, 2.5 vegetable, 2 fruit, 3 dairy, 5.5 protein and 6 oil servings, plus 265 free calories. This guide makes it easy to flesh out the remainder of our food plan.

Grains
On average, you will need 42 grain servings per person per week. Half of that should be whole grains, and they all should be grains you enjoy eating. Examples are oatmeal, bagels, cold cereal, popcorn, graham crackers, pasta and wheat germ. If you are not a fan of wheat germ, simply sprinkle a bit into your favorite meatloaf recipe. Chances are you will never notice it is there, and it still will nourish your body.

Fruits and Vegetables
Include apples, blueberries, spinach, broccoli, sweet potatoes and vegetable juice in your plan for fruits and vegetables. Beyond that, let color be your guide as you flesh out the remainder of your servings. The more varied the colors, the more broad-ranging the nutrients. Fresh, frozen and canned all are fine, but limit your intake of additives and preservatives.

Dairy
Limit fats in your dairy selections, but beyond that, enjoy a broad range of dairy products, including milk, eggs, cheese, yogurt and even ice cream. If lactose is not your friend, make your selections from the wide range of lactose-free products available on the market.

Protein
With the exception of fish oils, limit animal fats in your protein choices. Fish, poultry, red beans, lean beef and pork are excellent protein choices. Vegetarians may choose beans, dairy products or nuts to round out protein choices.

Fats
Our society has become so focused on cutting unhealthy fats, it has become easy to slip into thinking that all fats are bad. Not so, says brain researcher Dr. Daniel Amen. Some fats are extremely good for us and even necessary. Without fats our brains literally would stop working and we would die. Limit animal fats and avoid trans-fats and partially hydrogenated oils, but be sure to get an adequate supply of other healthy oils. Examples are fish oils, olive oil, canola oil, almonds, walnuts and avocados.

Lifestyle
Think about your lifestyle when planning your meals. Being busy and on the go need not doom you to a life of fatty dinners out of a bag. Apples, carrots, juices, deli meats, boiled eggs, prepackaged salads and tortillas are great grab-and-go foods. Also consider which items are in season or on sale when planning your meals.

Grocery List
Now that your decisions are made, check the refrigerator and pantry to determine which items you will need to purchase. Next, categorize the list according to the departments in your grocery store, ending with cold or frozen items.