Tips on how to grocery shop to a healthier you

April 27, 2013

A fun part of my client's success is my famous grocery shopping tour.

We go to a local grocery store, and show them how to read food labels, get the most supportive food items, what to eat less of and what to flat out avoid.

This where the rubber hits the road if you want to transform your body, and take control over your health and physical well being.

Here are some tips to help get you on your way.

  Buy as much locally grown fresh foods as you can. I'm an advocate for buying as close to nature as you can. Buying fresh, locally grown fruits, vegetables and meats can help assure that you are getting the most nutrient dense foods with minimal "shelf time."

Don't skip on the frozen fruits and veggies, however. Some experts claim that frozen fruits and vegetables are fresher than fresh foods because they are harvested and frozen at the peak of readiness.

 Read those labels. The front of most food packaging is all hype and marketing. Watch out for "product propaganda." An example is with "fat-free" snack foods. These foods often substitute the removed fat by adding more sugar which increases the calories.

 Go the "whole way."  When shopping for breads and pastas, grab whole wheat varieties. These products have more vitamins, minerals and fiber than white, wheat, and enriched products.

When reading the nutrition label, look for the words whole wheat, or whole grain at the beginning of the ingredients list.

 Skip the trans fats. If you eat butter substitutes, look for spreads without hydrogenated oils or "trans fats," such as Smart Balance, Benecol or Promise.

Trans fats have been shown to raise LDL or "bad cholesterol" levels in the blood, which some experts say increases risk for heart disease.

 Endanger the species. If you're a meateater like myself, eat a range of these lean-protein sources for variety's sake, and mix up the nutrients each is good for.

Grass-fed land animals are better than corn- or grain-fed animals because of the higher amounts of essential fatty acids found in them. Eat wild-caught fish as well for optimum nutrition value.

 Burn these tips into your memory, and shop smarter every time. Your body will appreciate it, and you'll be better prepared to crush your fitness goals.

Chad Smith is a Hagerstown personal trainer and co-owner of Home Team Fitness LLC. Go to for more information.

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