Shop Around The Perimeter


You might have heard of this phrase before.  It’s a new approach that teaches about how to change your food shopping routine to make your cart well-balanced, cheaper, and of course, HEALTHIER!!!

The next time you walk into the supermarket, take a minute to study the layout of the store. You will notice that all major food groups are located around the perimeter of the supermarket. It may look a little like this: to one side is the fruit and vegetable aisle, followed by the meat, deli and seafood counter, turn the corner and now you are looking at the long side of the supermarket in which one side is stocked with all types of meats, maybe some frozen seafood as well. Turn the corner again and now you are facing the dairy aisle, followed by the bakery/bread section. Everything else in between the aisles in the center of the supermarket are foods that I like to call “shelf life” foods.  These are foods that you can store on the shelf of your pantry and they can lurk in there for years and still be edible.  Majority of these foods are loaded with preservatives, trans fats, sugar and /or sodium., these are the key ingredients that allow these foods to stay “fresh” for long periods of time.  Doesn’t it scare you that the macaroni and cheese box in your pantry may out live you one day??  (But don’t get me wrong, there are some foods that have a home in the center aisles that are actually very healthy, provide convenience and help you save some dollars as well…keep reading 🙂 )

Sticking to the method of Shopping Around The Perimeter will ensure that you choose foods that are fresh, wholesome and closest to its original form.

Don’t know where to start? Try this shopping list that follows the “Shop Around The Perimeter” philosophy:

Fruit and Vegetables:

Buy fruit that is in season for better quality and price, and you can never go wrong with the following items: apples, bananas, oranges, pears, berries, broccoli, peppers, mushrooms, carrots, onions, garlic, sweet potato, cucumber, tomatoes, romaine lettuce, tofu (sometimes found here or in the dairy section)

Meat and Seafood counter:

skinless, boneless chicken breast, minced turkey or chicken, extra lean ground beef, salmon/tilapia/flounder or shrimp, sliced low sodium turkey or chicken breast, sliced low sodium ham


low-fat milk, low-fat cheese, low-fat yogurt, eggs, tofu (sometimes found here or in the vegetable section


Whole wheat or whole grain bread/tortilla wraps/sandwich wraps/bread rolls

I recommend you venture down these specific aisles to collect the following food items: 

Pasta/rice aisle: brown rice, whole wheat pasta, tomato sauce

Canned foods aisle: tuna fish in olive oil or water, canned fruit with light syrup, canned veggies with low sodium, canned beans with low sodium (if low sodium is not available, simply rinse the food items under running water in a colander)

Cereal aisle: oatmeal, whole grains, breakfast cereals with less than 7g sugar per serving and more than 3g fiber per serving, Peanut Butter, whole grain crackers

Frozen Food aisle: Frozen vegetables ( no sauce), frozen berries (no syrup

Household aisle: you don’t eat any of these items so go crazy 😉

Condiments: Olive oil, vinegar, salt (to be used in moderation, please), pepper, your favorite dried herbs for cooking and flavoring, sugar (to be used in moderation, please), mustard, ketchup, low-fat mayonnaise, jelly/jam

My final thought: If you must purchase foods in between aisles that I have not recommended above, PLEASE be smart about it and read the nutrition label and ingredients list. Choose foods that are low in sodium (less than 250mg per serving), low in fat (less than 3g saturated fat per serving), and low in sugar (the lower the better!). The less ingredients the better and always remember to choose foods closest to its original form!



About peacelovenfood

My name is Michelle (Serpas) Hill and I am a Registered Dietitian. I have a genuine passion for all things related to health, wellness and nutrition- mind, body and soul, which is what my blog is about. I was born and raised in Long Island, New York. I look forward to sharing my nutrition knowledge and expertise (via evidence based research), ideas and life experiences with anyone who is interested. I also hope you allow me to share my thoughts on just about anything as long as it aids in my soul-searching journey and peace of mind. Feel free to leave any comments, questions, feedback- anything! In health, Michelle Hill, RD, CDN

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s