When it comes to approaching healthy eating, sometimes your first trip to the grocery store can be overwhelming. You may not be ready to start a new diet, follow a strict plan, or write down every bite you place in your mouth. That’s okay. Sometimes the best start to incorporating healthy choices can simply be to include more healthy alternatives in your refrigerator and pantry. Slowly incorporating these healthy swaps can lead to long-lasting healthy choices that are sustainable.

When we asked Biggest Loser Dietician, Lou Ann Chvatal, about creating a simple grocery shopping strategy for those wanting to make healthier choices, she gave us some great tips to take with you when you begin your grocery store adventure to healthy eating.

Tip #1: Create the list before you leave. Also, be sure to have a healthy snack before you attempt to shop. For example, an apple cut in half and spread with one tablespoon of organic peanut butter. Shopping on an empty stomach is a recipe for disaster!

Tip #2: Shop the rainbow when it comes to the produce aisle: red peppers, dark green leafy lettuce, orange navels, yellow squash, and purple eggplant. Think about your plate at the table and filling up one half of it with these veggies. Choose your favorites!

Tip#3:  Choose grains and starches whose ingredient lists start out with the word “whole”. Look for whole grain pasta, whole grain breads, brown rice, quinoa, and whole oats, to name a few.

Tip #4:  Shop the dairy aisle in search of lean or reduced-fat dairy choices, such as skim milk, reduced-fat cheese, and reduced-fat yogurts. Keep in mind when shopping for yogurts that their biggest source of calories is usually from sugar. Try to choose the yogurts with less added sugar, aiming for less than 12 grams sugar per serving.

Tip #5: Choose to stock up on oils that are healthier for you. These include olive, grapeseed, and coconut oils. Throw out vegetable and canola oils when you get home!

Tip # 6: Choose margarines that do not include any hydrogenated, partially hydrogenated, or trans fats in their ingredient lists.

Tip #7: Browse the nuts aisle, adding to your cart a bag of unsalted almonds, walnuts, pistachios to name a few, for a healthy snack or add-on to salads and sides.

Tip #8: If you choose canned goods, they should be reduced in sodium, aiming for less than 500 milligrams per serving. (photo credit)

Tip #9: Watch out for the check-out aisle temptation candies! Chew on a piece of sugarless gum while waiting your turn to check out and look the other way!

Lou Ann Chvatal, MS, RD, LDN is the Biggest Loser Dietitian and represents the Biggest Loser Resorts.