Longevity Blog

Grocery Tips for Healthy Shopping - Longevity Blog

A balanced and healthy diet plays a key role in maintaining and restoring health, and promoting longevity. Managing a balanced menu is the first step to living well, contributing to the prevention of diseases, increasing vitality and leading to vigour in the performance of daily activities.

Having a well-organized, well-planned grocery list will not only get you in and out of the supermarket quickly, it will also keep your healthy eating plan on track. Planning ahead ensures sticking to the list and menus, and avoiding compulsive shopping or unhealthy choices. Healthy eating starts from the trip to the grocery store so that you can refill your kitchen with a variety of healthy ingredients that will facilitate food preparation.

Consider the following tips when creating a grocery shopping list:

Fruits and Vegetables:

  • Be sure to buy a variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables; local products are often fresher;
  • When certain fresh foods aren’t available, choose frozen or canned vegetables and fruits in water without added sugars or salt;
  • Buy more fruits and vegetables that are good sources of fibre (ideal consumption is between 30gm/40gm daily), including beans, cabbage, water cress, plums, pineapple, etc. Aim for variety and ensure you will have enough for required daily consumption of fruits and vegetables (e.g., ingredients for salads, soups, etc.).
  • Stock up on raw vegetables for snacks such as carrot and celery sticks, cherry tomatoes dipped in hummus/guacamole, etc.
  • Minimize fruit juices as usually they are high in added sugar. Instead, it is preferable to do a homemade fruit juice (no more than two different pieces of fruits), combined with a vegetable/aromatic herb (coriander, mint leaves, watercress, etc.), and water to prevent a fast absorption of sugars fruits (fructose).

 Eggs and Dairy:

  • Select fat-free or low-fat milk. If possible, go for organic milk.
  • In case of lactose intolerance, choose alternative options, such as oat, almond, rice, soy, without flavour, as they usually have added sugars and extra calories.
  • Pick up low-fat Greek yogurt (they have higher content of protein and that will keep you more full), preferably plain without sugary additions.
  • Choose fat-free, low-fat or reduced-fat cheeses (goat/sheep constitute the best option, because they are easier to digest).
  • Select free range and/or organic eggs.

Meat and Fish:

  • Try to buy fish more often rather than meat. It is recommended to have at least 3 to 5 servings of fish weekly. Make sure to include salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring, etc.
  • If you can’t get fresh fish, buy frozen, but pay attention to avoid fish with ice inside of the package (this means the frozen process was broken, which can damage the nutritional properties).
  • Choose more often grass fed white meats (chicken, turkey, rabbit, etc.), rather than red meat (pork, mutton, veal, etc.).
  • When buying or eating poultry, choose the leaner light meat (breast) rather than the fattier dark meat (legs and thighs). Opt for the skinless version or remove the skin yourself.
  • When you buy red meat, ensure it is grass fed and be sure to trim off the visible fat before cooking (try not to have more than once a week).
  • Select more meat substitutes such as dried beans, peas, lentils or tofu and use them as entrees or in salads and soups as alternative sources of protein.
  • Avoid cold cuts, because they are high in salt, fat, nitrates, food additives, among others substances.
  • Ensure you include nuts and seeds, which are good sources of protein and polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats; they can be mixed in salads but eat them in moderation due to their fat content.

 Grains and Cereals:

  • As a source of complex carbohydrates, select more often, quinoa, beans, brown rice and sweet potato (gluten-free options). Other healthy grains include buckwheat, millet, kamut, spelt and amaranth.

Bread and Bakery:

  • You may choose to eat gluten free bread (quinoa, millet, buckwheat, corn, rice, amaranth, etc.) more frequently.
  • Choose whole-grain breads that contain per 100gm, less than 300 kcal and fibre between 4-5gm.
  • Limit the amount of sweet goods such as doughnuts, pies, cakes and cookies.
  • Remember that most store-baked goods are made with egg yolks, saturated fats and/or trans-fats. Check for store-baked goods that are made with polyunsaturated or monounsaturated oils, skim or reduced-fat milk, and egg whites, or make your own.

 Fats and dressings:

  • Use oils in limited amounts (maximum of two tablespoons per day).
  • When you must use oils for cooking or baking, choose the ones that resist high temperatures without decomposing, including olive oil and peanut oil.
  • Try sesame oil, linseed oil, walnut oil and extra virgin olive oil in uncooked foods and spreads (e.g., guacamole, hummus, salads, etc.).
  • Avoid buying solid fats, such as margarines and butter, as they contain trans fats and hydrogenated fat.
  • Watch out for saturated and/or partially hydrogenated fats hidden in many bakery goods, desserts and other foods. Read the Nutrition Facts label to evaluate the nutritional properties of different products.
  • Buy a nonstick pan or use nonstick vegetable spray when cooking.
  • Try dressings made with low-fat Greek yogurts and aromatic herbs.


The Nutrition Facts panel on the food label is your guide to making healthy choices. Learning how to read and understand food labels can help you determine healthier alternatives. Make sure to avoid saturated fats, trans-fats, nitrates, sodium, cholesterol and look for fibre, vitamins, calcium, potassium, magnesium and iron.

Finally, a more colourful and diversified plate means better nutritional balance. Please keep in mind to combine all macronutrients (carbohydrates, lipids and proteins), micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), fibre and bioactive compounds beneficial to health.


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