5 Ways Grocery Stores Are Helping You Get Healthier

By , SparkPeople Blogger
These days, grocery stores are more than just food and beverage repositories. In addition to housing all the ingredients you need to eat, drink and snack, they can also help you lead a healthier lifestyle. With the ongoing rise in obesity rates, more supermarkets are stepping up and implementing initiatives to help consumers make better choices about what they’re putting in their bodies.

Of course, there are still plenty of pockets of temptation, and not all stores are stepping up to the extent of these 10 healthiest grocery chains. While the end caps and checkout counters will always try to tempt you with prepackaged treats, it’s comforting to know that some stores are making headway toward some of these health services.

Nutritious Recipes

Meal planning is an essential ingredient of healthy living, and it all starts with the right recipes. Many grocery stores are bridging the gap between planning and preparing meals by providing consumers with nutritious recipes. Whole Foods has dozens on their website, and they also send a recipe newsletter with fresh ideas and cooking tips. To make it even easier, you can add the ingredients for any given recipe to your shopping list with a single click. KrogerTrader Joe’sHy-Vee and Meijer also offer online recipes in various categories.

Healthier Food Samples

Although you might still see some unhealthy freebies like potato chips, chocolates and bacon-wrapped hot dogs, some supermarkets are starting to hand out healthier fare, like veggies and hummus, sliced fruits and organic snacks. And while you still might see the infamous tray of cookies set out at the bakery counter, many grocery stores are starting to offer free fruit for kids to instill healthy habits at a young age. 

Ready-to-Cook Meals

Between work, school, kids and household duties, planning and prepping healthy family meals can seem like a pipedream, but you don’t want to fall for the alluring convenience of fast food drive-thrus. Savvy supermarkets are meeting the needs of busy, health-conscious consumers by offering pre-assembled, ready-to-go meals that can be cooked in minutes at home.

Kroger recently announced its foray into a meal kit service called Prep + Pared in hopes of giving meal delivery services like Blue Apron a run for their money. With meal kits, you get precisely the ingredients you need to cook a dish, along with step-by-step instructions delivered right to your door, no waste, no fuss. Consumers can also opt for fresh prepared options, which have already been assembled and just need to be heated and served. Kroger also offers oven-ready seafood at their counter—simply choose your seafood, seasonings and garnish, and they’ll provide you with a cooking pack complete with all your preferred herbs, spices and flavors. When you get home, just pop the packet into the oven, heat and eat.

Expanded Selections of Fresh and Organic Foods

As people become more aware of the downfalls of processed foods, major grocers are responding with larger offerings of fresh, locally grown and organic options. Whole Foods is known for its ample selection of grass-fed meats, free-range chicken, fresh seafood and oven-ready organic meals. Trader Joe’s store brand steers clear of preservatives, trans fats and artificial flavors and colors, and Aldi has made headlines for stepping up their organic offerings. Hy-Vee has also started offering more organic, gluten-free foods and positioning them near produce sections.

Curbside Pickup and Delivery

Whether you have small children, mobility issues or just limited time, navigating the grocery aisles can seem difficult or downright impossible. To stay competitive with online delivery services like AmazonFresh, local supermarkets are starting to offer shopping services that enable people to get their groceries without leaving their cars (or even their homes).

With Kroger’s ClickList service, you can order and pay for your groceries online, then pick them up in a designated area of the parking lot. The attendant will finalize the purchase at your window and then load your items into your car. Meijer has taken it a step further, partnering with delivery service Shipt to bring groceries right to your door—the driver will even bring your bags right into your kitchen. These types of convenient fulfillment options allow you to make more controlled, thoughtful purchases, prevent impulse purchases and remove the temptation of unhealthy fare. Plus, with the time you would have spent grocery shopping, you can get in a workout!

Have you seen any of these services at your local supermarket? What other initiatives would you like to see from grocery stores?

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