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Simplify Your Grocery Shopping Experience

What’s on your menu? Do you know what to buy at the store to ensure you have everything you need to eat healthy for the week? It’s easy to feel bombarded at the grocery store with all of the choices available. Don’t let a trip to the store sabotage your healthy meal plan. Have a plan, make a list, and stick to it for successful shopping experience.

1. Create a list using your weekly menu

The first step is to look at your weekly menu, and create a list of what you need for the week. (Make it easy on yourself -- the online planner does it for you. Just click and print!) For example, look at how many fruits are on your menu. On a 1200 calorie menu, you may have two fruits each day or 14 total that you need for the week, so your list can include a bag of small apples or oranges. Do the same and tally up the other grocery foods such as the vegetables (garden salad, broccoli, green beans), milks (nonfat milk, yogurt), healthy fats (almonds) and lean meats (egg whites, low-fat cottage cheese, light string cheese).

● Don’t worry if you don’t like an item that is listed on your menu. Use theto Grocery List find alternatives better suited your taste.

● Don’t forget to add Free Foods and Limited Free Foods to your list. They are a great way to add variety, flavor and satisfaction to your meal plan.

2. Simplify your shopping experience

The second step is knowing how to make the most nutritious choices. Use these tips to make weight loss friendly choices.

Fruits and vegetables

● To get the best quality and lowest price, choose seasonal fruits and vegetables.

● Pick frozen fruits without added sugar and canned fruits packed in water or juice.

● Grab a few bags of frozen or “no salt added” canned vegetables to have on hand when you are short on time.

● Bonus -- look for single-serve sizes for no-fuss portion control and extra convenience.

Lean meats, meat substitutes and milks

● Scan food labels and select lean meats (≤ 3 grams fat per serving). Use the Grocery List to learn which meats and meat substitutes are lean.

● Buy boneless, skinless chicken breasts and canned, water-packed salmon, tuna and chicken. They are great when you’re in a pinch for a last minute meal on your own.

● Select portable items for on-the-go convenience like light/part-skim string cheese sticks and single-serve, fat-free yogurt and cottage cheese.

Whole Grains

● Try something new and good for you! Look for bulgur, buckwheat, wheat berries, quinoa, brown rice, oatmeal, spelt, wild rice, pumpernickel or rye bread, barley and whole-wheat pastas, breads, and tortillas.

● Look for grain products that list whole, sprouted, malted or cracked wheat or other whole grains as the first ingredient.

Have a plan - use your Meal Plan, make a list, and your waistline will thank you. Also, be open to discovering new foods, as this can lead to healthy new trends in your household.

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