Have you ever gone to the grocery store or local co-op without your grocery list or just decided to swing by on the way home from work? It is more convenient to be prepared, but you can always make great choices regardless of when or why you stop by to pick up a few things.
What I recommend here are tips for making the best choices possible for you, your family or anyone that you are shopping for. Let’s start with produce. Before going to the store, research to see what produce is in season — you will get the best prices for anything that is in season.
Here are some great examples for summer:
- Fruit — Strawberries, Blueberries, Watermelon, Grapes, Plums, Apples
- Vegetables — Asparagus, Spinach, Broccoli, Cucumbers, Peppers, Carrots
Go to a farmer’s market. Most towns have them, and whatever they are selling is what is in season. You get it straight from the farmer, and usually get the best prices!
You can also join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Some farmers offer these seasonally, some annually. You pay the farmer directly, and then each week you either pick up or have delivered your box of fresh produce — and some farms have meats, eggs, cheeses, jams, and other delicious options! You get a variety of food, and even get to try new veggies/fruits that you have never had before!
The best option is to go organic and non-GMO — whenever possible. Be sure to ask at your farmer’s market or CSA whether they are organic or non-GMO.
When you find a great sale on veggies, fruit or meat, stock up, because most food items can be frozen.
If you eat meat, look for organic, grass-fed, grass-finished meat. Read the label. If you aren’t sure, ask your butcher or meat department. More stores now have these options available. I frequent local co-ops, so I usually don’t have any problems finding this type of meat, fresh or frozen.
Same goes for eggs, dairy or yogurt. It should state organic. Stay away from grain-fed anything, especially if you have food allergies or sensitivities, for if the chicken ate corn, then you will be ingesting corn.
If you purchase packaged “food” items, read the labels carefully. Many of my clients have food sensitivities and allergies, and they need to ensure that the ingredients they are eating are not cross-contaminated in the factory where their product or food was made.
If you aren’t sure about the quality of the product, research company websites or call them directly and ask about where their food is sourced and whether there is any cross-contamination. It is better to be safe before you eat it, instead of having a bad reaction later, suffering unnecessarily.
When you are looking for oils, for baking or roasting or to dress up a salad, cook with extra virgin olive oil with a high heat point. Olive oil has minerals, enzymes and other compounds that don’t work well with heat, and they can be susceptible to rancidity. It is better used for dressings and lower temperature cooking.
Consider avocado oil or butter as a better option for baking or pan cooking, as they have a higher heat point.
Finally, in addition to choosing organic and non-GMO foods, remember to choose foods from the colors of the rainbow. If you eat well, you will feel well!