And 5 great buys in your grocery store

Despite the explosion of silly food and drink products, fortified with a few random nutrients to create Health Halos, there are still many great buys in the average grocery store.  You don’t have to spend vast amounts of money at Whole Foods to buy good food.  Here are just 5:

  1. Frozen unsweetened fruit: in a way, this is like eating seasonally all year.  You get the benefit of peaches or berries picked at their prime, rather than peaches or berries bred for long distance shipping and grown thousands of miles away.  Even better, you can just thaw out the amount you need for a meal.  I prefer to let frozen fruit thaw while standing, rather than using the microwave defrost, which gives the fruit a weird texture.
  2. Frozen vegetables in microwavable bags: another great invention, aimed at smaller families.  You can cook the whole bag, or just take out what you need.  No more vegetables frozen into an unmanageable block of ice, forcing you to cook the whole thing.
  3. Vegetable juice blends: not quite the same as whole, fiber-rich vegetables, but a very nice alternative.  Just be sure you purchase real juice blends, not sweetened juice product with a few token vegetables.  Check the ingredients list to be sure.  There shouldn’t be any added sweeteners.
  4. Sushi: I know, the sushi in grocery stores is not what you’d typically find in a high end sushi restaurant.  But you can buy a small tray and use it for a quick convenient low fat, portion-controlled meal.
  5. Single-serve yogurts: built-in portion control.  A 6-8 oz container is a good choice for a snack or as part of a meal.  If you go for the Greek style yogurt, you get more protein.  Just avoid the sugary varieties, with colorings, gels, flavorings and (gah!) artificial sweeteners or “fiber”.  Real yogurt doesn’t need gels, and doesn’t contain fiber.  Get your fiber from real fruit and vegetables.  By the way, milk in single-serve shelf stable packages is a close second here.

Speaking of which, probably the most useful grocery store development of the past several years is the proliferation of pre-cut fruit and vegetables.  While these might look expensive compared to the uncut versions, it’s not if you figure in your time and the waste.  If a whole pineapple costs $4 and a cut up pineapple costs $5, is it worth a $1 to you to save time and avoid all the mess and garbage generated when you cut up that pineapple?  I’m a big fan of convenience fruit and vegetables for people who are crunched for time.  Plus having all that ready-to-eat food in your refrigerator makes it extremely easy to make good choices when you’re hungry.

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