Shopping for food that’s good for you

Using a motorized cart at the market might be helpful.

If you have a choice of where to get your groceries, pick a store that is clean and well supplied. If it is also busy, the stock is probably more likely to turn over quickly and items won’t be near their sell-by or use-by date. But don’t depend on that—always check the dates.

Many people say a successful trip to the grocery store starts with a shopping list. Throughout the week, try to keep a list of food and supplies you need. Keeping to a list helps you follow a budget because you will be less likely to buy on impulse. A prepared grocery list will help you choose healthy types of foods.

When making your shopping list, check your staples. Staples are nice to have around if you can’t go grocery shopping. These include items like the following:

  • Cereal
  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • Cans of low-sodium soup, fruit, and tuna fish
  • Bags of frozen vegetables or fruit

A trip to the grocery store can be a chore for anyone, but as you get older, you might have some new reasons for not going. For example, getting around a big food store might be difficult. What can you do?

  • Some stores have motorized carts, which you can use.
  • Ask if there is an employee who can help you reach things or push your cart.
  • If your store has a pharmacy department, you might find a seat there if you get tired.
  • Plan to shop at a time of day when you are rested.
  • Check with your local Area Agency on Aging to see if there are volunteers in your area who can help.

Shopping for healthy foods, especially fresh fruits and vegetables, might be hard where you live. People who live in rural areas or some city neighborhoods often have trouble finding larger supermarkets. Instead, they have to shop at convenience stores and small neighborhood markets. Sometimes smaller stores have limited selections of fresh foods.

You might also be able to get some help from the federal government to pay for vegetables and fruits from farmers’ markets through the Seniors Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program. They provide coupons you can use at farmers’ markets and roadside stands.

For More Information on Shopping for Healthy Foods

  • Local Harvest www.localharvest.org
  • Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 1-800-877-1600 www.eatright.org
  • National Association of Area Agencies on Aging 1-202-872-0888 info@n4a.org www.n4a.org
  • National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs 1-202-682-6899 www.nanasp.org
  • Eldercare Locator 1-800-677-1116 www.eldercare.gov
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