The grocery store can be a battlefield. With all the shiny packages and labels shouting, “Fat Free!” and “Whole Grain!”, it’s tough to discern between what’s healthy and what’s just clever marketing. We want to help you weed through the garbage and fuel your body with the healthiest options, so below are 5 surefire tips to help you navigate your local grocery store and shop for your healthy lifestyle.

Stick to the perimeter

The healthier items at your grocer will be at the perimeter of the store, so make a point to spend most of your time there. Fruits, veggies, meats and dairy are all usually found on the outside aisles while the more processed, pre-packaged foods are found on the inner isles.

Read the labels

One rule to remember is, the shorter the ingredient list, the healthier the food most likely is. Whole foods, or foods with one ingredient, will be the best for you, but if you do need to buy something already packaged, make sure you read the label avoid items that include artificial ingredients or ingredients you can’t pronounce.

Make a list

If you don’t go in prepared, chances are you will buy a lot of unnecessary items that you will either end up tossing or that don’t fit into your meal plan. Make a list and stick to it to ensure you are only buying healthy items.

Eat before you go

Grocery shopping on an empty stomach is a big no-no. When we are hungry, we tend to go for the first thing that looks tasty, which can lead to some unhealthy purchases. Eat a healthy meal or snack before you go to make sure you don’t binge buy junk food.

Buy in bulk

Meal prepping for the week is a great time saver, but it can also save you money. Plan your menu out before you shop and reuse as many of the same ingredients in your various meals as you can. Beans, poultry and herbs are all examples of items that can be used in multiple dishes through the week.

When in doubt, head to your local farmer’s market. Locally sourced products haven’t been shipped across country, so they are at their peak of freshness, plus, you are supporting the local community. Farmer’s markets also tend to have organic products in more varieties than the big box grocers.

Question: Do you have any healthy tips that help you when shopping for groceries?