Making simple changes to what you put in your shopping cart at the grocery store can result in major health benefits for you and your family in the long run.
Nutritionist Maya Feller shared her top tips for navigating the supermarket, and broke down what to skip, what to buy, and simple healthy food swaps to look out for when grocery shopping that can help you and your family to lead a healthier lifestyle.
"I always recommend looking to whole and minimally processed foods," Feller told ABC News. "I also push plants, plants, plants."
Feller said she recommends re-framing how you think about your meals, and advocates for thinking about vegetables as your main dish and preparing meats, chicken and seafood as the side dishes.
What to skip
1. Processed, pre-made, meals
These ready-made meals tend to be higher in sodium, saturated fats, added sugars and other preservatives. Excess sodium can increase the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, and high intakes of saturated fat has been associated with an increased risk of developing heart disease, according to Feller. In addition, added sugars can be pro-inflammatory and increase the risk of diet-related chronic illnesses.
2. Pre-packaged oats with added sugars
Pre-packaged oats with added sugars tend to be higher in calories when compared to plain oatmeal, and give an inappropriate amount of added sugars that your body does not need, Feller told ABC News.
3. Packaged foods with hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated fats
Feller advises avoiding hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils -- which are typically used to increase the shelf life of packaged products -- as they can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
4. Deli meats and processed meats
Feller recommends skipping deli and processed meats as much as possible, as some are high in sodium and fat. Plus, processed meats – particularly those that have been preserved or flavored through salting, curing, fermenting and smoking – have been identified as carcinogenic by the World Health Organization.
5. Refined grains
Refined grains often have fewer nutrients and are usually higher on the Glycemic Index when compared to whole grains, according to Feller.
What to buy
1. Bean-based pasta
Pasta made out of red bean, chickpeas, lentils, or other beans tend to be higher in fiber and have more vitamins and minerals than refined pasta.
2. Sprouted grain breads
Feller recommends buying sprouted grain bread instead of white bread, as it tends to have more vitamins and minerals.
3. Cold pressed oils
These oil variety tent to contain high amounts of mono-saturated fatty acids and antioxidants.
4. A variety of non-starchy vegetables
When it comes to loading your card with non-starchy veggies, Feller says the more, the better. Non-starchy vegetables contain antioxidants, accompaniment, vitamins and minerals that are an essential part of a healthy, balanced, diet.