Your cart should be filling up at this point, but you have a few more aisles to check out. Next, the frozen food sections.
- Frozen fruits and vegetables: Picked at their peak of freshness, frozen produce is a wonderful solution. Bulk up when items are on sale and keep in your freezer for months. Then pull them out for soups, smoothies and stir-fries.
- Frozen shrimp: Normally we would say that frozen seafood is a big no-no, but frozen shrimp is actually a great solution when you’ve run out of proteins for the week. Defrost the shrimp in your refrigerator the night before you want to use them (worst case, defrost in the microwave) and toss into stir-fries, pasta sauces or a whole-grain salad.
- Sorbet: Do your best to stroll past the ice cream this week, and look for fruit sorbets that will satisfy that craving with fewer calories and less sugar. Fruit bars are also a great substitute for ice cream bars.
Keep walking and pick up a few necessities in the dairy section:
- Eggs: Full of protein, eggs are a go-to for any meal. A great solution once you’ve used your proteins for the week, eggs can be poached and placed over a warm salad, or scrambled and served alongside some roasted vegetables. Hard-boil them and keep them for midafternoon snacks as well.
- Parmesan and feta cheeses: A little dairy never hurt anyone, especially when using a small amount packs such big flavor. Simple, salty toppings for dishes any time of day.
- Nonfat Greek yogurt: A great way to start the day is with a bit of honey, scoop of berries and nonfat Greek yogurt. This thick, creamy alternative to regular yogurt is a power player in light eating. Also, use instead of mayo in dips or creamy salad dressings.
And finally, make sure you grab some:
- Whole grains: Grains like bulgur, farro, quinoa and barley are a fantastic substitute for rice and pasta. Higher in fiber, these grains can be combined with leftover cooked vegetables or proteins for a warm salad lunch or tossed with herbs and reduced-fat feta for a zippy side dish. These whole grains will be integral in a healthy week of eating — kids won’t miss pasta at all.
Grocery shopping is truly an art form, one that takes practice to get just right. Ultimately, you need to choose items you like to eat, so you’re not tempted to pick up takeout or microwave a frozen pizza. Think about how your family eats, their likes and dislikes and walk the market with those needs in mind. With a plan and the aisles of your supermarket as your guide, you’re off to a great week of healthy eating.
Before you head to the store, make sure your pantry is stocked, and check out more smart shopping strategies and recipe ideas from Food Network.
Written by Katie Allen, Food Network Kitchens Culinary Producer