American Council on Exercise by American Council on Exercise

Plan what foods you will need for the whole week. Choose recipes and snacks for each day. Use the USDA’s SuperTracker tool to track the health value of your meal plan.

Make a grocery list—and follow it! Take the time to write down the items you need for the week, and try your best to not stray from your list.

Save money by cutting coupons. Cut coupons for items on your list and peruse the grocery store mailer. This will help you save money and prevent you from being tempted by too many “on sale” items that are not on the list.

Don’t go to the store hungry, rushed, or after a workout. You’ve probably heard this one before, but do you follow it? When you shop in any of these situations, you are likely to spend more money and buy less healthy food.

Shop the perimeter of the store. Not to say that you can’t go in those center aisles—many healthy essentials are found there, including whole grains and canned vegetables – but generally, the highly processed foods are shelved in the center aisles and the healthier items are located around the perimeter.

Bring the kids along. Teach them about healthy, balanced eating and engage them in the process of selecting, purchasing and preparing food. Each child should choose a fruit and vegetable for the week, increasing the chances that they’ll actually eat what you offer them.

Avoid purchasing unhealthy foods marketed at children. Don’t give in to pleas for junk food items (usually loaded with sugar, salt and/or additives). Avoid tantrums over junk foods by shopping at specialty or “unbranded” grocery stores that do not sell the big-name branded products.


Be wary of the propaganda! Ignore front-of-package labels and get in the habit of reading the nutrition facts and ingredient lists to make sure you are getting high-quality food items. While not exactly propaganda, grocers strategically place perishable items with earlier sell-by dates in the easiest-to-see areas and fresher items at the back of shelves.


Avoid impulse purchases in the check-out line. Grocery stores purposefully place items like gossip magazines, candy and chips at the check-out line in hopes that you will make an impulse buy.

Strategically put the groceries away. When putting the groceries away, place the healthiest items in easy-to-see-and-reach places and the less-healthy stuff in hard-to-see-and-reach places.



American Council on Exercise


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