While the dining halls and local restaurants offer a variety of food options, you may occasionally have to make a trip to the dreaded grocery store. It can be tempting to stock up on Easy Mac and Ramen noodles, but know that while those processed foods are cheap and easy, they're not very healthy. Not sure what constitutes a processed food? Basically, if it's in a box or bag, it's probably processed. These foods contain preservatives and additives that prolong the shelf life, but do little to help your health. Even boxed items claiming to be healthy (HealthyChoice, I'm looking at you), often contain high levels of sodium that are hard on the heart. To purchase the healthiest options, go for the freshest options.
If the temptation of processed foods is too appealing to pass up, use this trick: avoid the aisles. Think about it, when you head down the aisles of a grocery store you are usually surrounded by bright bags and boxes full of temptation. Next time you go food shopping, stick to the perimeter of the store. You'll pass through fresh produce, the deli counter, fish and meats, and the diary sections. That just about covers all the food groups! If the fresh produce prices are a bit out of your budget, head down the canned or frozen aisles for vegetables and fruit (just avoid anything with added sauces or sugars!). A quick trip down the bread or pasta aisle to grab some whole grains and your healthy shopping is complete. And as a bonus- with all your healthy choices, it's okay if you can't resist that candy bar at check-out!