Healthy Shopping List Tips for Busy Athletes

Every time you walk into a grocery store, you face a daunting task: picking the healthiest, most nutrient-packed foods to fuel your running from thousands of choices. Supermarkets today carry an average of 38,718 items, according to the Food Marketing Institute. Colorful packaging, deceptive claims and hidden ingredients confuse even the savviest shopper. Who wants to waste precious running time dithering over yogurt?

Our expert tips will help you shop smarter, so you can get in, get out, and get back to running—fast. (And follow this Ultimate Grocery Shopping List for all the foods you should stock up on during your next supermarket run.)

More: 10 Grocery Tips for Healthy Shoppers

The Pantry Aisles

Pasta Power:

Find the perfect pasta by following these general rules.

  • Whole Grains:Whole wheat, brown rice, buckwheat, spelt, or other types of whole grains should appear first in the ingredient list.
  • 5 Grams of Fiber: Look for at least this much fiber per two-ounce serving. "Choose a 100 percent whole-grain product and it won't be hard to reach this mark," says Janis Jibrin, R.D., author of The Supermarket Diet.
  • 6 Grams of Protein Per Two-Ounce Serving: Whole grains naturally contain some protein, which helps keep blood-sugar levels steady.
Best Buy: Barilla Whole-Grain Linguini has a dense, chewy texture—and provides runner-friendly minerals, including phosphorus, magnesium and iron.

More: 5 Whole-Grain Pastas to Keep You Fueled

The Perfect Sauce:

Follow these guidelines in your search for pasta sauce.
  • 400 Milligrams of Sodium: No more than this per half-cup serving. "Some brands can pack more than 600 milligrams," Jibrin says.
  • 4 Grams of Sugar or Less Per Half-Cup Serving:"Ideally, there should be no added sugar in the ingredient list," says Jibrin. "The only sugar should come from the tomatoes themselves."
  • 2 Grams of Fat or Less Per Half-Cup Serving: Skip the creamy white sauces, like alfredo, which pack the most saturated fat, says Jibri.
Best Buy: Made with vine-ripened organic Roman tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, and organic basil, oregano and garlic, Eden Organic Spaghetti Sauce has an ingredient list even an Italian grandma would respect.

More: 6 Guilt-Free Pasta Recipes

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