Surviving the Supermarket

A trip to the supermarket can be overwhelming, and if you don’t plan ahead you could be leaving with a shopping cart filled with unwanted calories.

Use this guide to help navigate your way to a healthy waistline.

1) Prepare Ahead of Time
Make a list and stick to it! Preparation is the key to stay on track with your healthy diet. Making a list of proteins, veggies and the essentials ahead of time will help keep you from straying. Make a list on paper or if you are tech savvy there are many apps out there for your phone that can help create a healthy grocery list.

2) Don’t Go Hungry
Heading to the grocery store on an empty stomach can be a disaster. Your sugar levels are low and you will start gravitating towards anything that looks bad. Save yourself the remorse and money by eating before you head to your local supermarket.

3) Shop the Perimeter
Have you ever noticed that the outer rim of the grocery store contains all the healthiest and non-processed foods? Think about it – produce, seafood, meat and poultry. These should dominate your targeted shopping list.

Let’s look at each of these areas a little closer:

Produce: Fruits and veggies, you cannot go wrong here. This is a staple in any diet and an important part of keeping lean. Precision Nutrition, leading experts in fit nutrition, list the following as just some of the benefits of fruits and veggies:

  • They are alkaline producing, which can help to preserve bone mass and muscle tissue.
  • They are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients.
  • They contain lots of water to help you stay hydrated.
  • Because fruits and vegetables have a high water and fiber content, they’re low in calories relative to their volume. Consuming them on a regular basis can result in a higher volume of food intake. Since humans consume a consistent volume of food, a high consumption of low calorie density foods can help to control overall food intake and manage body weight

It is recommend that you should have a veggie in each meal. Take half your plate and load it up with bright colors. Pick what’s in season and you will add variety to your diet.

Meats, Poultry and Fish: Protein! Protein is essential to building and repairing your muscles. It is important that you get the right type and amount throughout the day.

• Fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel are loaded with omega-3s, which help prevent cardiovascular disease and help control inflammation.
• Lean meats and poultry such as boneless, skinless chicken breasts, turkey, lean pork and beef all provide high amounts of protein, vitamins and nutrients to pack on the muscle and keep you lean.
• When choosing beef, the Mayo Clinic suggests looking for cuts labeled round, chuck, sirloin and tenderloin, as these will be the leanest. Beef is important as they contain nutrients such as iron and phosphorous.

Think of this tip: The less legs the better when it come to eating protein. Choose fish first, then chicken and turkey and lastly beef and pork. You get the point!

If you can afford it look for grass feed, free range, pasture raised, or organic on the packages.

Grains and Pastas: When choosing breads, pastas and rice look for whole grains. Precision Nutrition recommends these starchy carbohydrates only be consumed post-workout (1 – 2 hours after your workout) if you are looking to lose weight.

Hydration: Stick with non-caloric drinks such as water or green tea.

4) The Center Aisles:
If you must venture down the center aisles, make sure you read the nutritional labels on your purchases. Many packages contain ingredients that will kill your diet. Just because a product says low fat does not mean it is good for you. Check out this useful guide from The U.S Food and Drug Administration on understanding nutrition labels.

As you start building your grocery list you should include superfoods. Superfoods are loaded in heart-healthy, cancer fighting and cholesterol lowering elements that are a must in any trip to the supermarket. WebMD labeled these 14 foods as “Top Superfoods Offering Super Health Protection”:
• Beans
• Blueberries
• Broccoli
• Oats
• Oranges
• Pumpkin
• Salmon
• Soy
• Spinach
• Tea (green or black)
• Tomatoes
• Turkey
• Walnuts
• Yogurt

The supermarket can be punishing on your diet if you do not prepare ahead of time. Next time you step foot in the grocery store do your body a favor and use this guide to prepare and survive the supermarket.

By Bill Waltzek – CPT


Andrews, Ryan. “All About Fruits and Vegetables.” March 22nd, 2010.

Mayo Clinic “How meat and poultry fit in your healthy diet.” n.p. n.d. April, 22nd 2012.

“A Key to Choosing Healthful Foods: Using the Nutrition Facts on the Food Label.” n.p. n.d. April, 22nd 2012.

Seliger, Susan. “Superfoods Everyone Needs.” n.p. n.d. April, 28th, 2012.

Comments 2

  1. Great article~ I started using your “perimeter” shopping theory back in October and I agree. I love that processed foods hardly exist in my house and that I am getting everyone to eat more fruits and vegetables. Thanks Bill.

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