No-Stress Healthy Food Shopping, Holistic Nutritionist in Denver, CO Lakewood Counselor
By Healthy Nest Nutrition in Denver CO.

Today our guest blogger is Robin Hutchinson, MNT. Robin is a board certified in holistic nutrition and highlights ways to not become overwhelmed at the grocery store. Oftentimes the trip to the grocery store is a dreaded one. Not only because of your depression or anxiety symptoms, but also just a lack of knowledge of how to get the nutrition you need. Other issues include not knowing what to read on the label or sometimes, even where things are located in the store. So you might say how, does this affect me? Well you are probably buying the same foods over and over. The fault in that plan is that you might not be getting the nutrients you need to help maintain stability in decreasing your symptoms of depression and anxiety.

By: Healthy Nest Nutrition in Denver CO
Many people walk into the grocery store and see the bright lights, colorful packaging that was designed to capture your attention, and many thousands of products to choose from. And with due cause, they begin to stress. This post will help you sort through the ‘noise’ and give you simple buying guidelines so that grocery shopping is easy and stress-free. What SHOULD you buy ?

Shop for Easy Do-able Meals & Snacks
I agree with the shopping pros, that sticking to the perimeter of most grocery store is a good idea. Normally, the perimeter is where the freshest ingredients are. That means that the ‘guts’ of the grocery store is where the packaged products live, and packaged normally means food that has been tampered with— preservatives, additives, colorings, and more have been added for shelf stability. There are a few easy rules that can guide your grocery store buying:

  • Plan before you shop. What do you feel like eating for the coming week?
  • With real food in the house, you’re much more likely to eat it, and to eat LESS fabricated foods, so buy on the weekend, and eat better during the busy week.


  • Fruits and vegetables will give you color variety as well as fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, energy and more. Fruits & veggies can be found in the produce section of the grocery store. Look at the weekly sales items. They are normally in season, good quality, fresh and less expensive.
  • Proteins like chicken, tuna, and fish and eggs will keep you fuller longer, and your energy level. This is normally at the far back of the grocery store. Choose organic, wild-caught or grass fed if you can afford it. Watch expiration dates.
  • Fats like avocado, olive oil, olives, and nuts will keep you satisfied longer. Nuts are great snacks and can be found in the bulk section.
  • Vegetables, fruits, proteins and fats together have a synergistic impact on the body. They are what you need to be a ‘well-oiled’ machine.

Use Color.

  • Make sure you have a couple of different natural color in your cart. That will ensure you are buying a variety of fruits & vegetables. Add green–could be lettuce, green beans, zucchini, green apple, OR green grapes. Add Red– could be red pepper, beets, rhubarb, OR strawberries.

 SHOP THE GROCERY STORE ‘GUTS’ –Become a label reader.

Good Label guidelines: About the Ingredient Section.

  • If the ingredients of a food are not pronounceable, it probably isn’t a good idea to buy it & eat it.
  • If the food has numbers (food coloring numbers, chemical numbers for example RED #3, Yellow #13) put it back.
  • If the food says ‘enriched’-contrary to what it seems, it isn’t good for you. Enriched means nutrients are lost during processing and have been put back into the item using man made sources. Find another option.
  • If the label has lots of ALL CAPS (like BHT, EDTA or TBHQ, don’t eat it. These things are NOT FOOD.
  • Avoid ‘trans-fats,’ hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated. These products have been chemically altered to stay solid at room temperature. Your body doesn’t know how to process these ingredients. Choose another product.

LABELS: About the Nutrition Facts.

  • Compare similar products that you’re looking to buy.
  • Less sugar is always better.
  • More fiber is always better.
  • More protein is always better.

Your Grocery Basket

How does all of this information translate to your basket of groceries?

Start with REAL FOOD-2 vegetables, 2 fruits, 2 proteins and 2 fats. Good ideas for this week:

FRUIT: Strawberries & Blueberries

VEGGIES: Lettuce & Radish (AND/OR cucumber, carrot, peppers, tomatoes, etc.) for salad. Asparagus for a dinner side?

PROTEIN: Eggs, Chicken & Healthy Turkey Deli (no preservatives, no nitrites, no nitrates)

FATS: Avocado, almonds, peanut (almond) nut butter, hummus & olive oil

Menu Ideas from the Good idea list above

Now that you have bought delicious foods, let’s put them together in several different combinations to make a healthy food week.

Breakfast Ideas: eggs with side of berries, smoothie with nut butter and fruit

Lunch Ideas: left-over grilled chicken with salad, salad with hummus, salad with hard boiled eggs, turkey sandwich (100% whole wheat bread) with lettuce & tomato

Dinner Ideas: grilled chicken with salad, vegetable omelet with berries, chef salad, Turkey Panini with side of sautéed asparagus

Snack Ideas: hard- boiled eggs, turkey roll-ups with red pepper, hummus & carrots, berries and almonds, spoon-full of nut butter (peanut, almond, etc)


Healthy Nest’s Vanilla/Nut Butter/Banana Breakfast Shake

1 scoop of vanilla shake protein powder, or 1 cup of plain greek yogurt (if OK with dairy)

1 tbsp. almond or peanut butter

¼ cup of almond, +/or coconut milk

½ banana

1 tbsp. flax seed

a couple of ice cubes

This is a blender recipe.

Healthy Nest’s Maple Spiced Almonds

Modified from Clean Food

1 tbsp. coconut oil

3 tbsp. maple syrup

2 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice

3-4 dashes of cayenne

3 cups whole almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Spread out on a single layer of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Bake until nuts start to brown~25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely. Break nuts apart and store in a airtight container.

With a little planning the grocery store shop can be calm & fun. If this seems difficult to you, but you are focused on eating ‘YOUR BEST DIET,’ connect with the nutritionists at Healthy Nest Nutrition.   We can plan with you, shop with you and coach you to be able to shop and eat a nourishing whole foods diet.

Healthy Nest Nutrition is located in the Cherry Creek neighborhood of Denver, CO and the nutritionists specialize in finding your ‘best diet’ for long term health. They make healthy eating do-able! They work with client’s to clean up the standard American diet so people can focus & think more clearly, balance mood, have good energy & strengthen digestion.
Robin Hutchinson, MNT
Holistic Nutritionist in Denver CO Lakewood Counselor
Image by Marianne Martin