Shop the Perimeter
Shopping the perimeter of the grocery store is not a new idea, but I think it’s a good one. The idea being that most grocery stores are set up predominantly with fresh and whole foods around the edges, and processed foods toward the center of the store.
There are a number of reasons we want to focus more on fresh whole foods, rather than processed foods:
- Processed foods are high in added sugar
- Fresh, whole foods are more nutrient dense (aka, healthier)
- Processed foods often contain common allergens/sensitivities (corn, wheat, soy, etc.)
This shopping store layout is not black-and-white, but overall it holds as a good rule of thumb. Focus your shopping on foods like fresh/frozen produce, meat, seafood, eggs and dairy (if you are tolerant and in a phase of this program that allows it). If the store you shop in has a bakery or pizza counter on the perimeter, SKIP THOSE!
While I have seen statistics stating that 80-90% of the foods found in the aisles of a grocery store are made from corn, wheat and/or soy, there are some quality items to be found if you look hard enough:
olive & coconut oil, rice, quinoa, herbs & spices, canned fish, canned pumpkin & tomato products, cocoa and gluten-free flours for baking the occasional treat.
If you think about it, all the examples have something in common. They all contain only one, or at the very most, a few ingredients. I am willing to bet you will not find (m)any products that will help you reach your health goals in the Snack or Cereal aisles! (So skip those, please!)
The idea of Perimeter Shopping is really meant to focus us on things like produce, meats, seafood and eggs…in other words fresh, whole foods!
Keep that in mind the next time you find yourself wandering up and down the aisles of your favorite grocery store. What exactly is it you are looking for?