As a registered dietitian, I have a unique advantage when it comes to shopping for healthy items in the grocery store. However, finding healthy alternatives for the foods we enjoy can be a challenge. Many of my clients struggle with identifying nutrient-dense grocery store items that will promote good health for themselves and their families. Part of my job as a dietitian is to help educate them on which foods are best for their personal nutritional needs and which ones are best left on the shelf.
If you’re concerned about how to grocery shop for healthy alternatives to your favorite foods, you’re in luck! In this blog post, I discuss some of the most common healthy foods found in virtually any grocery store. Read on to find out how to shop smarter — and healthier — for you and your family.
Healthy Eats at a Grocery Store Near You
Heading into the grocery store can be overwhelming, and tempting. With so many options to choose from, it can be difficult to know which ones will help you along your wellness journey and which ones will set you back on your progress. Check out the following dietitian picks I opt for when I’m grocery shopping:
Alfresco Chicken Sausages: These all-natural, gluten-free, pre-cooked chicken sausages and meatballs come in over 10 different flavorful varieties. An easy protein source with 45% less saturated fat than traditional pork sausages and moderately low sodium, they’re great on the grill, sautéed with veggies, added to omelets or sauces — the options are virtually endless. They also make an awesome addition to nutritional weekday dinners that can come together under 20 minutes.
Boar’s Head and Delighted By Dessert Hummus: Think outside the box with hummus flavors. These creamy chickpea dips swap out the garlic and tahini for flavors like vanilla bean, cinnamon, and cocoa powder. They make a great dip for apple slices or strawberries, or you can try spreading them over graham crackers and top off with sliced banana. Flavors range from brownie batter to mint chocolate, vanilla bean to snickerdoodle. They’re guaranteed to satisfy any sweet tooth!
Banza Pasta: Even though I’m a dietitian, I am not gluten-free, but sometimes my pasta is — especially when it packs 14g of protein and 8g of fiber per 2oz serving. Banza is made from a blend of chickpeas and pea protein, but unlike other bean-based pastas on the market, it reheats without getting gummy. Feeling nostalgic? Try their boxed mac and cheese varieties (I like to mix in a head of roasted broccoli to help round out the meal). Vive la legume!
Powdered Peanut and Almond Butter: If you struggle with controlling your portions of peanut butter (like me), this product is a great fit for you. Brands like PB2 have found to a way to provide all the peanut flavor minus all the fat, yet somehow manages not to be a “Frankin-food low fat version.” Peanuts are first pressed to remove their oil. They are then dehydrated and pureed into a fine powder, allowing you to lose the calories from fat without losing the protein or fiber content. The label says to reconstitute with water, but I prefer to add mine to smoothies, oatmeal, or mix with vanilla Greek yogurt to make a dip for fruit. It also comes in a chocolate peanut butter flavor for those looking for a bit of extra sweetness.
Trident Wild Caught Salmon or Pollack Burger: Want to increase your consumption of heart-healthy Omega 3 fatty acids, but feel intimidated cooking fish? Check out the frozen seafood department for Trident burgers. Made with responsibly sourced wild seafood and seasoned with a delicious blend of simple herbs and spices, these low-sodium burgers cook to perfection on your skillet, grill, or oven. Serve them on a whole wheat bun, add them to pasta, serve them with eggs, chop and toss with salad greens, or serve over a bed of sautéed spinach. Your heart (and stomach) will thank you!
Grocery Store Guidance with Nutrition HealthWorks
While this list of yummy substitutions is a great place to start, it’s just the tip of the iceberg compared to the level of in-depth nutritional guidance you’ll receive during an appointment with Nutrition HealthWorks’ dietitians. If you want to transform your grocery store shopping habits, the best place to start is by scheduling an appointment with one of our registered dietitians. No matter what your wellness goals may be, our team will provide you with the skills and tools you need to improve your health habits for the long-term. Come in for a visit or schedule a Telehealth appointment to get started with your nutritional goals from the comfort of your own home today!
–by Sondra Tackett MS RD LDN