“I believe this is the case for ‘shopping the perimeter’ of the grocery store,” says Rachel Begun, registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. That advice may have intended to point shoppers to the produce section but today the perminter is where you’ll find the bakery and beer as well. Begun says, “First, many consumers shop in stores with non-traditional layouts making the phrase irrelevant and confusing in these situations. Secondly, for stores with traditional layouts, many of the healthiest choices are found in the center aisles.”
For example, middle aisles are where you’ll find whole grain cereals, brown rice and sources of vegetable protein including canned beans, dried peas and peanut butter. The freezer aisle is stocked with frozen fruit and vegetables, which offer a year round variety and are just as nutritious as fresh; sometimes even more nutritious. A recent study conducted by food science graduate Marin Plumb at South Dakota State University found that freezing blueberries boosts the antioxidant power of anthocyanins – the phytochemical pigment that makes blueberries blue. “The ice crystals that form during freezing disrupt the structure of the plant tissue, making the anthocyanins more available,” says Plumb.