If you want to keep your body, mind and spirit healthy, you need to eat well, sleep well and exercise.  Each of these require discipline and consistency to be successful. To eat well, we need to gather our food. Fortunately, our society has evolved to where most people don’t have to do fieldwork or hunt to gather their food. We just go to the grocery store and gather whatever we want (and can afford) without even thinking about it most of the time. For a lot of people (my family included at times), food shopping becomes a chore after a while that we don’t look forward to. 

Shopping for food and preparing food at home is one of the best ways to improve your diet and be mindful of what you’re eating compared to eating out at restaurants. Here are a few easy steps to become a better food shopper, courtesy of the American Council on Exercise. 

Look down low. If you normally shop for food at eye level without squatting down to see lower shelf foods, you may be paying higher prices for exactly the same food that’s on the low shelf at less cost. Take a moment while food shopping to squat and lunge to lower yourself to see what savings you can find. 

Buy seasonal produce. The older I get, the more I like whole foods whether it’s vegetables, fruits, nuts, eggs, meats or anything produced from the ground, plant or animal, compared to foods in a bag packaged at a factory. Buying the seasonal produce can help save you money because you’re buying it when there’s a large amount available. We’re in our summer season which is a great time of year for seasonal produce. 

Don’t forget the frozen foods. When you don’t have access to seasonal produce, you can find a lot of fruits and vegetables in the freezer section at the grocery stores. Most commercial frozen vegetables have been harvested in their peak season then flash frozen to hold the nutrients. 

Don’t walk into the grocery store when your stomach is growling. I think most of us have done this and it’s just torture isn’t it? Everything looks good and we want it all because we’re so hungry. This creates impulse buying and buying unhealthy items. 

Shop online once and a while. We get busy and don’t feel like going to the store. Shopping online from home can help you save money because you can check your inventory and not buy something you already have in the pantry. Our family shops at the store and online. It’s nice to have both options available today. 

Enjoy your grocery shopping adventures. Here’s to you eating well. 

Jonathan Souder is the Fitness Director at Manor Housean Acts Retirement-Life Community in Seaford, Delaware. This column appeared in the July 19, 2018 edition of the Seaford Star.