Tara Gidus

Navigating the Grocery Aisle

Supermarkets are bursting with food, most of which are packed in deceiving packages tricking you into thinking it's healthier than it actually is. Problem is, you're busy; you don't have time to sift through thousands of foods and who wants to waste precious time in the grocery store when you could be out running?!

Grocery shopping for you and your family, making sure you choose the healthiest options to support everyone in the household AND your training, AND doing it all quickly…that's an intimidating task! No worries! Bring this guide to your weekly grocery dash, and you'll be a supermarket pro in no time.

Dried Fruit Canned Meat Whole Grain

Stick to the perimeter of the store.

Majority of the healthiest options for everyone, including runners are located on the perimeter of the grocery store (with some exceptions). The aisles are where most of us get distracted and wind up buying food that doesn't fuel us adequately. The perimeters contain most of our poultry, fish, beef, dairy, fruits, and vegetables.

When the aisle is an exception.

Aisles are jammed packed so it's best to know what you're looking for before tackling this task. Use the aisles for:

  • Healthy whole grains: brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, English muffins, and bagels
  • Nut butters: natural style peanut butter or almond butter
  • Good-for-you cereals: old-fashioned rolled oats, whole grain cereal
  • Dried fruits: California raisins because they are all-natural with no-added sugar, the ingredient label says it all: raisins!  Want a great value?  The USDA has ranked raisins as the most economical dried fruit, and 1/4 of a cup is considered a serving of fruit.
  • CAN-convenience: canned tuna, salmon, or chicken, beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce and applesauce

Frozen can be as good as fresh!

Technically considered an "aisle", the frozen food section is not one you should miss!

  • Frozen veggies are great when you need a quick dinner
  • Frozen fruits are fantastic to add to a pre or post-run smoothie! Frozen mangos are one of my favorites. Mangos are power packed with antioxidants, beta carotene, and vitamin C, and contain over 20 different vitamins and minerals including Vitamin A, an important supporter of bone health. (Note: If you prefer fresh mangos, which I definitely do, don't judge by its color as it color has no indication on ripeness, it's merely a characteristic of the variety. To judge ripeness, give the mango a slight squeeze. If it has a slight give, it's ripe & ready to eat!

Color yourself happy (and healthy)!

The produce section, typically in the perimeter of supermarkets, deserves some standout recognition. This is where most of your color variety and vitamins and minerals come from. Think "colors of the rainbow":



beets, raspberries, peppers
Orange and Yellow

sweet potatoes, tangerines

kale, avocado, spinach, asparagus, broccoli
Blue and Purple

eggplant, blueberries, plums

bananas, coconut, onions

Chocolate craving?

Choose a dark chocolate with high cacao content (at least 70%). Dark chocolate contains polyphenols, which contribute to the prevention of cardiovascular diseases.

Comments or questions? Tweet me @DietDivaTara.

Known as the "Diet Diva," Tara Gidus is a nationally acclaimed nutrition expert and the official nutritionist of runDisney.