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5 Grocery Shopping Hacks From a Dietitian

eed a little shopping cart inspiration? Tracy Lockwood of Tracy Lockwood Nutrition is here with everything you need to know to navigate a local grocery store like an expert.

Healthy choices start in the aisles: You know to trade chips for crudité and soda for green juice, but what's next? Here a five quick tips to make your grocery trips even smarter.

Less is more. When you're eyeing products on the shelves, they shouldn't come complete with long lists of ingredients listed on the back. The more ingredients in a product, the more likely it is to have unnecessary stabilizers and preservatives to keep it fresh and shelf-stable. For example, when comparing oatmeal brands, opt for offerings that consist simply of whole-grain rolled oats, whole-grain Irish oats or 100-percent whole grain oats... and nothing else!

Start in the fresh produce aisle. For some, food shopping is a bore and should be completed as quickly as possible. If you're dreading your weekly grocery trip, start in the produce aisle so you're still dedicated to the task. You'll be more likely to pick up healthier products within the first five minutes of grocery shopping than the last five minutes.

Take a trip to the frozen food aisle. Take advantage of the sales, particularly when it comes to the freezer aisle. Purchase frozen fruits and frozen veggies in bulk so you're always ready to make a smoothie or defrost some veggies to have with dinner.

Compare products. Curious about two similar brands but just don't know which one to buy? We've all been there! Compare all the ingredients and what they offer. When evaluating bread, for example, look at the fiber content: The bread brand with more fiber wins, as it will keep you fuller longer.

Look at the expiration dates and... take notice of the placement of fresh and refrigerated products. Closest to the front doesn't always mean it's the freshest! For example, spinach and lettuce packages follow the rule known as FIFO (first in first out), so the products in the front are usually the ones that will spoil the fastest. The same goes for milk, yogurt, cheese and other refrigerated products. Don't just grab and go — an extra minute of looking at expiration dates goes a long way.

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Article by Tracy Lockwood
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