Wellfie Wednesday Tip #114: Smart Shopping for Groceries

Welcome back! This week’s #WellfieWednesday post is brought to you buy @AaronPerezPT. Enjoy! 

     There are many barriers to eating healthy, and cost is one of them. As a young professional continuing to mostly live like a broke college student, I know the struggle well. I’d like to think I do a decent job balancing healthy eating while still balling on a budget. Although challenging, it can be done. For brevity, this post is primarily personal anecdotes from my quest to fuel good for as close to free as possible. However, I realize my situation is much more fortunate than many others. I have a reliable car to get to and from the grocery store. I have enough income for groceries. I’m only buying food for myself. I have working appliances as well as time to cook and prepare food. I have some knowledge about healthy foods and feel comfortable understanding nutrition labels. The list goes on. And so, I think it’d be worthwhile to do a follow-up post describing ways to help impoverished communities get access to healthier meals as this is a common problem for many people as well.  

Where to Shop

     Aldi’s…next question…

     For real though, Aldi’s is my favorite and after doing a brief google search several sources seem to agree. Other decent options are Costco, Trader Joe’s, Lidl, Walmart, Kroger, or Sprouts. It’s also worth noting that food prices can fluctuate quite a bit between two of the same chain in different locations. So, you may want to shop around a bit and see what store near you seems to consistently have the lowest prices. What’s your go-to-grocer for deals? 

How to Shop

     Most grocery stores are strategically designed to make you spend more. The higher purchased items will often be found in the middle of the store for your convenience, and typically these are processed foods. Fresh produce is often on the perimeter of the grocery store. For healthy fare, shop the edges of the store. But, there are certainly some healthy canned and frozen foods as well (See below). 

     Find the deals and become a coupon king/queen. Coupons really can help you save a lot. Most of my experience with this comes from watching my Mom shop for groceries and most other things. I should follow her example more often. I don’t use any smart phone apps for coupons, but I imagine there are some out there specific for grocery stores. A quick google search came up with one called, “Grocery iQ.” I’ll have to give it a try and report back.  

     Lastly, don’t shop on an empty stomach. Or else you’ll be like me and eat half a giant bag of trail mix as you shop and buy those chips you told yourself you weren’t going to buy. Eat and make a list beforehand if possible. This will help curb some emotional or hunger-based purchases.  

What to Buy

     Considering only about 1 in 10 adults get the recommended daily serving of fruits and vegetables, I think it’s a good idea to stock up on both. The good news is, the frozen veggies are about just as good as the fresh ones and you don’t have to worry about them rotting before you eat them. So, I often hit the freezer aisle and stock up on lots of frozen veggies. Cheap protein options are canned tuna and canned/dry beans/legumes, and you don’t need to worry much about these going bad either. Look for generic brands rather than name brands, and consider the carb:fiber ratio rule when looking for healthier packaged foods (Shoot for less than 5). 


  • Shop at stores known for discounts. Aldi’s is my go-to. 
  • Shop the edges of the store. Usually this is where the healthy, fresh produce lives.
  • Use coupons
  • Eat and make a list before shopping
  • Stock up on fruits and veggies, the frozen ones are just as good as the fresh
  • Canned tuna and canned/dry beans/legumes are some of the cheapest protein you’ll find
  • Use the carb:fiber ratio to find healthier packaged foods, shoot for a ratio <5. 

Thanks for all of the support, be sure to post your pictures this week and tag the WW crew members in your post (@TheFuelPhysio@Eric_in_AmERICa@AaronPerezPT@DianaKlatt) and keep the wave of healthy change going!

Wellness Wednesday Tip #8: How to Shop your Grocery Store

Happy Wellness Wednesday Folks! Thanks for joining us again!

     This week’s tip involves that weekly visit to the grocery, which I’ll admit I sometimes dread, but it can be quite easy if done right. We’ll go ahead and jump right into things with this tip, as it contains a few smaller tips for food choices that can certainly be elaborated on in the future. 

Start out by planning your week
Go ahead and create your menu for the week and then make a list of all the items you’ll need. ChooseMyPlate.gov has excellent resources, including a weekly menu template and grocery list template that separates things into their food groups. Keep in mind that you can have some flexibility in your shopping. When making a list, I’ll sometimes just write “a vegetable” or “fish” and let things fall into place after seeing what’s available. 

Initially, shop the store perimeter
The store perimeter will contain your fresh foods and some of your healthiest options. 

  • Shop for in-season fruits and vegetables
  • Choose lean meats, though think about having some meatless meals
  • Take advantage of fresh fish choices
  • Choose lower fat dairy and cheeses

Don’t entirely avoid the inner aisles  
Down the aisle is where you’ll find many other nutritious food items.

  • Look for whole grains and healthy cereal options
  • Pick up some canned or frozen vegetables, choosing lower sodium options
  • Look to add beneficial snacks, like walnuts or almonds
  • Choose healthy cooking oils like peanut and olive oil

Finish off with making sure you’ve covered everything on your list and filled in those “a vegetable” spots. 

Enjoy shopping!

-    Dr. Patrick Berner, PT, DPT
-    Dr. Eric Uveges, PT, DPT