Heather Mangieri, MS, RD, CSSD
Sports Dietitian/Spokesperson/Speaker

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Simple Do’s and Don’ts of Grocery Shopping

Researched and Written by: Laura Maydak, Nutrition Intern
Reviewed & Edited by: Heather Mangieri, RDN

What I am about to say may shock some of you (queue drum roll).  I love going to the grocery store.  Okay, it may not be that shocking, but it’s not particularly common either.  Most people that I know, including my own mother, dread taking a trip to the grocery store.  If you fall into the latter category take a few minutes to read this blog post, and learn how to make your trips to the grocery store as simple and successful as possible



  • Plan to go when it’s the least crowded (not Saturday afternoon!).  More people means more time, distractions and frustrations
  • Make a list, bring it, and stick to it


  • Shop for food when you’re hungry.  (Eat a healthy snack beforehand to make sure your head-not your stomach-is making the decisions)



  • Buy the basics: Fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and low-fat or fat-free dairy
  • Spend most of your time outside the aisles.  This is where the fresh foods are found (note: this does not include the bakery section).  The “rainbow” of colors in your cart should be from lots of fruits and vegetables
  • Be aware of the exception to the “shop the perimeter” rule.  Frozen or canned fruits and vegetables can be just as nutritious as fresh produce.  Just be sure to buy fruit without added sugar and low- or reduced-sodium vegetables without added sauces
  • Choose your aisles you head down wisely! Beans, Legumes and healthy whole grains are all found inside the aisles.
  • Read labels.  Check the serving size, nutrition facts, and ingredients list to help you make healthy choices. Use the percent daily value to compare products.


  • Wander into isles where you don’t need to be.  Avoid cutting through central, “snack”-laden isles to get from on side of the store to the other.  This leads to tossing yummy looking “extras” into your cart that are better left on the shelf.



  • Pick the shortest line


  • Give into temptation.  Ignore the candy bars and sugar-sweetened drinks that surround the checkout area.  If the line is long, pick up a magazine to look at instead of having a staring contest with the nearest chocolate bar

While these tips may not make you love grocery shopping the way I do, they will certainly help make the trips easier.  Also, now that your trips to the store will likely be shorter, you can use the extra time when you get home to prepare all of that healthy food for the week ahead.

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