As a general rule of thumb, the perimeter of a grocery store has healthier, fresher, and less processed food items. Most foods – some still have hidden sugars like pre-made salad dressings and sauces – are healthy and fresh.
The middle aisles carry more processed foods such as chips, crackers, packaged cookies, condiments which tend to be high in sodium. These typically contain preservatives which are a chemical or additives to keep them on the shelves longer – shelf stable products to last longer.1
Although, not all middle aisles are bad. There are whole grain pastas, rice, canned and dried beans, canned tomato products (just watch out for sodium), broth and stock, nuts, seeds, spices, seasonings – still being essential grocery items.2
- Healthier options
- Less processed foods
- Fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs
- Leafy greens and salad mixes
- Buy your kitchen essentials such as milk, dairy products, meats, bread
Overall = The grocery store perimeter has fresh fruits, veggies, and meats while the middle aisles have more processed foods BUT not all are unhealthy. That is where you can find whole grain foods, nuts, and seeds.1-2
- “Shopping the Grocery Perimeter.” Mayo Clinic Health System, 23 Mar. 2018, http://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/grocery-store-tour-shopping-the-perimeter.
- McClees, Heather. “Why You Shouldn’t Skip the Middle Aisles of the Grocery Store.” Kitchn, Apartment Therapy, LLC., 12 July 2019, http://www.thekitchn.com/grocery-shopping-perimeter-store-versus-middle-aisles-22923737.