Grocery shopping in ordinary circumstances can be a little tricky, if not at times overwhelming, and certainly expensive. These days, what you put on your shopping list is becoming increasingly important for your at-home comfort and health. What was once a fairly mundane chore has morphed into a complicated task. You may be concerned about not only about cooking meals that your family will enjoy but also being able to give them the right superfoods and nutrients they need to support their wellness and immunity.
Viome’s mission is to help people understand what their body uniquely needs to be healthy, including which foods are superfoods or toxic foods for you to avoid. Our team is also used to finding ways to get the superfoods we need without breaking the budget, as well as taking appropriate precautions to stay safe while shopping. We wanted to share some of our top tips to help stock up on your superfoods easily!
- A shopping list probably seems like a no-brainer, but you may need to take your list a step further in our unusual circumstances. (extra tip: your Viome recommended foods lists on your app can come in very handy at this step)
- Plan your meals for the week, and start your list from there. If your time is limited, think about what you like to cook or make during the week, or what is easiest.
- Don’t guess if you need ingredients. Take a quick tour of your pantry and refrigerator. Do you actually need a whole new jar of olives, peanut butter or sour cream? Making sure you aren’t buying items you don’t need helps keep your grocery bill from inflating. (extra tip: taking your list and “shopping” first at your pantry or fridge will help you from buying extra items)
- Have healthy superfood "swaps" on your list for items that are harder for stores to keep in stock. One very popular item lately is dry pasta, but while filling and long-lasting, it is simply refined wheat. Try healthier, whole grain options like quinoa, barley, farro, and brown rice OR vegetable and legume versions of rice and pasta.
- Prepare for your trip out. Be sure to have items with you that will keep you, and the others around you, safe: pack your homemade facemask, antibacterial gel, or a little liquid soap and moist towelettes to sanitize your hands, cart, and steering wheel before and after you shop.
- Try to stick to regular, neighborhood stores. You need to know the layout of your store to get shopping done quickly, rather than hunting from row to row which takes more time.
- If you’re hungry, have a healthy snack before you leave. Going shopping hungry leaves you open to impulse buy additional items not on your list, making your grocery bill higher.
While At the Store:
- Stock up on fresh superfoods. The produce section may not be as bare as other aisles. This is an opportunity to purchase as many of those Superfoods from your Viome recommendations as you are able to use during the week without letting them spoil. Less expensive superfoods that are packed with nutrients include sweet potatoes, swiss chard, apples, carrots, and bananas.
- Choose produce that has a longer shelf life. Onions and garlic stay fresh in the darkness of your pantry for quite a while. Bananas that are greener can last longer, as well as avocados or tomatoes that need additional ripening. (extra tip: citrus fruits can last 3 to 4 weeks in your refrigerator)
Not all organic produce is equal. Organics, while healthier for your body and without harmful pesticides and chemical residue, can be more expensive. The good news is that some conventional produce is cleaner than others
- Recommended Organic (if this fits within your budget): If you need strawberries, apples, blueberries, bell peppers, spinach, kale, or cherries, the organic options are considered healthier.
- Explore conventional: Avocado, pineapple, cabbage, onions, asparagus, mango, eggplant, kiwi, grapefruit, cantaloupe, cauliflower, sweet potato
- Some frozen superfoods have more nutrients than fresh ones. If you can’t find the fresh version of your personal superfoods in the produce section, head over to the frozen aisle for substitutions. (extra tip: peas are a great frozen choice, since fresh peas lose their nutritional value quickly after the first 24 hours off the vine)
- Some canned versions of your favorite superfoods can work. Their shelf life is long, and the cost is lower than fresh. Safety can be a concern, so aim to buy BPA free canned goods, as well as newer boxed items. Always choose low sodium and no sugar added versions (extra tip: canned tomatoes are an excellent buy for value and nutrition)
- Don’t "panic buy." In a rush, you may end up with 20 bags of dry navy beans that you will never figure out a use for (or find that they’re on your Avoid food list)!
- Try to stay away from these food groups, which are known to be unhealthy: processed and cured meats, sugary foods, especially sugary drinks, highly processed foods, and items high in unhealthy fats. These foods could help fill your fridge and pantry, but won’t make the grade for supporting your body with essential nutrients it needs for optimal health.
Other Stores and Delivery Options:
- Explore delivery or click and pickup: While many delivery services are jammed with customer requests, and you may not get your delivery for several days, it does avoid the need to leave home, Your local grocery may have a delivery or "pickup" service on their own, but services like Instacart, Shipt, Amazon Fresh, Walmart Grocery, and Fresh Direct deliver directly to your home.
- Consider discount or club retailers for organic produce: Aldi, Lidl, and Trader Joe’s often offer organic produce at a cheaper price than other stores sell conventional items, and have great quality. If you can buy in bulk, consider Costco, which is the largest seller of organic produce in the US.
- Support local farmers. If you are able, now is a great time to support local farms and farmers who are struggling. They may even offer delivery on their fresh fare. Find them at localharvest.com, Eat Wild, or USDA directories.
Viome Is Here to Assist With Healthy Recommendations Just for You
Your Viome nutritional recommendations are categorized into Superfoods, Enjoy, Minimize, and Avoid foods. These personalized lists are designed exclusively for you and your unique gut microbiome. And when put into action, these foods support your gut with the essential nutrients it needs for a more balanced, rich and diverse microbiome.
Since approximately 70-80% of your immune system resides in the lining of your gut, a healthy gut microbiome is key in supporting a healthy immune response.
Your Viome app is an excellent tool to use, at home on your shopping trip, to ensure that the groceries you bring will not only satisfy you and your families’ appetites, but also nourish and support your health, wellness, and immunity.