Grocery shopping can take a real bite out of an older adult’s budget. With grocery stores getting bigger and carrying everything from clothing to housewares, it’s easy to see why. Staying on track with your budget and dietary goals requires careful planning. We have a few suggestions to make that a little easier.
It’s easy to lament the foods you can’t have when you are trying to consume a heart-smart diet. Instead, focus on the well-balanced meals that taste great that will help you stick to your goals! This will help you avoid temptations lingering in many aisles of the grocery store.
Here are a few tips for getting started:
- Healthy, delicious recipes: The American Heart Association, Eating Well, and the Heart and Stroke Foundation have heart-healthy recipe collections on their websites.
- Menu and list planning: Once you have some recipes to choose from, plan a few weeks of menus. Choose My Plate from the U.S. Department of Agriculture has helpful tools, including a Menu Planning Worksheet you can download and use. This also makes creating your grocery list easier.
- Foods to include: When you are working hard to keep your heart healthy, it’s good to know which foods work hard, too. They include quinoa, white beans, kale, sweet potatoes, beets, and broccoli. Try to incorporate these into your weekly menus.
- Separate your shopping list: Some seniors find it helpful to separate their grocery list by aisle to make the process go faster. You can also avoid aisles that might be filled with tempting treats not on your list. Ask your favorite grocery store if they have a list available. Many offer a list of products by aisle in the store and on their website.
Navigating the Grocery Store
Once you make it to the grocery store, these healthy shopping tips can help you make the most of your time and budget:
- Fresh is usually best: Seasonal fruits and vegetables are usually best. When you can’t buy fresh, choose frozen fruits and vegetables. Look for those frozen in their natural juices with no preservatives or sugar added. Also, limit fruit juice. Most are high in sugar and low in fiber and nutrients.
- Time-saver options: Seniors might avoid fresh fruits and vegetables because of the time it takes to cut them up. Others might have health conditions that make slicing and dicing difficult or painful, such as osteoarthritis or Parkinson’s disease. Opting for pre-cut vegetables and fruits, bagged lettuce, or store-prepared fresh salads might encourage you to eat more fruits and veggies.
- Read the label: While the artwork on labels might indicate an item is healthy and natural, the nutritional breakdown may prove otherwise. Read the label to see how much sodium, sugar, and trans fat it contains. Also look for the breakdown of vitamins and minerals. Talk with your doctor if you don’t know what your daily limits should be.
- Skip the processed foods: With few exceptions, canned foods and frozen dinners shouldn’t be a routine part of your diet. Most are high in sodium. Some also contain unhealthy amounts of trans fat.
- Look for lean protein: Chicken, pork, fish, and beef can be good sources of protein. That’s especially important for seniors who sometimes don’t consume enough. Choose the leanest cuts of meat. For example, opt for ground steak, a tenderloin, or a sirloin instead of ground beef.
- Other smart choices: A few more heart healthy foods to put in your cart are unsalted almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds. Low-fat or Greek yogurt also makes a healthy snack.
At Sunrise, we take heart health seriously. From our wellness programs to our healthy menu options, residents find it easier to live their best life. Learn more about our dining program.