Are you making these grocery store mistakes?

grocery store mistakes

With so many choices and thousands of new products every year, walking into a grocery store is challenging. It’s difficult knowing how to shop smart. In this interview with one of my dietetic interns, Carolyn Moore*, we busted a few myths and talked common grocery store mistakes people make.

Here is the video transcribed.

Grocery store mistakes – Myth #1 – Shopping the perimeter

Neily:This is Neily on Nutrition. I am with Carolyn Moore*, she is a Texas Woman’s University studying to be a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, and we are talking about grocery store myths. Take it away. What is our first myth we are going to bust?
Carolyn:grocery store mistakes

The first myth is shopping the perimeter of the grocery store only.

Neily:We hear that a lot: that you should only shop the perimeter and stay away from the aisles. Why should we not stay away from the aisles?
Carolyn:First of all, the perimeter is a great place to be. You’ve got your fresh fruit and vegetables, you’ve got your dairy, your good protein sources of meat. However, you’re missing out on things like dried beans, a great source of fiber and lots of nutrients.
Neily:Economical too, so cheap.
Carolyn:There is also canned salmon.
Neily:Salmon is a great source of nutrition. We know about the great omega-3s, and people do not realize canned salmon is always wild.
Carolyn:I didn’t realize that until recently, but also there is a whole lot of price difference between fresh salmon and canned salmon. What about whole grains? You’ve got to fit those into your diet. Whole grain breads, brown rice…
Neily:grocery store mistakesQuinoa, which actually is not technically a whole grain. It is a seed, but we call it a whole grain. We’ve got some new, up and coming ones like freekeh. It is becoming popular, but these are all in the aisle. Great, so what is the second one?

Myth #2 – Endcap promotions & specials

Carolyn:grocery store mistakesThe second one is the promotions. The endcaps, all the specials, 10 for 10, you really have to be aware of what you’re buying and what you’re shopping for.
Neily:Yes, so how do we know?
Carolyn:grocery store mistakesPay attention to unit prices. The stores usually have them posted on shelving units, so you don’t have to do the math yourself. That is a great way to tell if per ounce or per unit, which is cheaper.
Neily:Taking a look at the unit pricing, you have a formula that we are going to put in the notes, make sure you download a copy of that information; we’ll provide that for you. In the description, grab the download of that with the formula Carolyn created.

Myth #3 – Fresh is always best

Carolyn:grocery store mistakesThe third one is: fresh is always best.
Neily:Fresh is great, BUT
Carolyn:Definitely, in a perfect world, we would all eat fresh.
Neily:I remember growing up, and my mom would say “honey, go get our salad from the garden.” Now, there is no garden for me. (I didn’t realize how spoiled I was!)
Carolyn:If you buy a bunch of fruits and vegetables to eat fresh, but then you don’t use them before they’re getting kind of yucky, you haven’t saved any money.
Neily:It’s a waste.
Carolyn:Exactly. I love frozen fruits and vegetables, so I try to use those.
Neily:Definitely. Veggies especially because what do they do with veggies? As far as freezing them?
Carolyn:They are packaged at the peak of their ripeness, so they are the best taste, and have the best nutrient content.
Neily:They’re flash frozen, and ripe, so they are ready to go. Whereas the ones that might be in the produce area sometimes are actually picked before they’re ripe and they’re going to lose some of their nutritional value. Fresh is not always best, it’s great, but frozen is awesome because you can have those year round and always have wonderful fruits and veggies available.

To sum up

Carolyn:So the 3 of them are: Don’t just shop the perimeter
Neily:Correct, it’s okay to go up and down those aisles, but beware because that is where you’re going to find…
Carolyn:Processed foods.
Neily:Yes processed foods, and processed is not bad. There are a lot: Milk is processedgrocery store mistakes, yogurt, bread, so plenty of processed stuff, but we need to avoid the highly manufactured ones.  Secondly?
Carolyn:Pay attention to the sales. Make sure you are getting the best deals. Finally, fresh is great, but you can also use frozen.

*UPDATE: Carolyn Moore completed her internship at Texas Woman’s University and is now a practicing registered dietitian nutritionist.

Thanks to Sarah Barnes for her help transcribing the video and blog post.


Jennifer Neily, MS, RDN, LD, FAND
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist | Wellcoach® Certified Health Coach


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