Thursday, March 18, 2010

Selecting Groceries for Health & Budget

Not wanting to overwhelm readers
yesterday with yet another system for determining the most healthful foods to buy and eat, I decided to wait till today to do that.

Though hopefully you won't find my system overwhelming at all, but rather a practical tool that's easy to implement when grocery shopping.

I devised this system with both budget and health in mind and in summation, the idea is this:

1) Buy eighty percent of your groceries as whole, unprocessed foods from the periphery of the store.

a) Pick 40% of that 80% as fresh produce i.e. mostly seasonal vegetables and some seasonal fruit.

Pick 20% of that 80% as humanely-farmed animal protein i.e. meat, poultry, eggs, milk, cheese, plus sustainably-farmed seafood. If you're vegetarian or vegan, obviously you'll pick less of b and more of c.

Pick 20% of that 80% as dry, bulk items i.e grains, legumes, nuts and seeds etc (pic to left).

The remaining twenty percent (some weeks less) of your groceries will come from the middle aisles as pantry staples i.e. tinned, bottled, packaged or frozen food.

The check-out pictures at left were taken when I shopped with a young couple who wanted to make healthier food choices and reduce their grocery bill.

Under my watchful eye, they followed the above formula.

As you can sort of see, their purchases reflect the 40/20/20/20 rule -- though I think I deterred them from the totality of the 20% they could have utilized in the middle aisles.

Instead of packet pancake mix and bottled olive oil they bought bulk flour and eggs, determined to make their own pancakes, and they also bought bulk olive oil and honey rather than the bottled and brand-name variety from the middle aisles.

Their healthy choices saved the couple around $80, significantly reducing their weekly grocery bill. Plus, they reported that their "fridge has never been so full of wholesome, delicious food."

It's simple, practical, and it makes sense when you're at the grocery store to keep in mind the 40/20/20/20 rule.

Try it, and see what a difference it makes to your budget and to the foods you then have available to eat once home.

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