Millions of dollars are spent by brands to attract your attention and place it exactly where they want it. As you might have imagined, where they want it is not always where it should go. Especially when your health is concerned. There's a few things you can do to thwart their scheme & make healthy choices in the grocery store.
This is where the produce, meat, & fish is sold. Avoid the inside isles where most of the processed and refined foods are kept. One quick note on Trader Joes. The freezer bins in the middle isle contain frozen fish and some vegetables. You have a green light for these parts of the isle. As with any other store, avoid the pre-made meals.
I.e. broccoli is broccoli, fish is fish, that protein bar is actually 37 things. You want to avoid any item with a long list of ingredients. Brands love repackaging a laundry list of not so healthy (and cheap!) ingredients into a beautifully looking "health food". When holding an item just ask yourself, how far removed is this from its natural state?
Here is a little-known secret in choosing produce. You know that little purple band around the asparagus? How about the sticker on your apple? They all have numbers on them and the first digit on the band or sticker tells you a lot. If the number starts with a 3 or 4 it means the produce was grown with conventional standards. i.e. not organic but okay. A leading 8 means it is GMO. Avoid these at all costs. Finally, a 9 and it's organic. This is what you should be looking for. Produce can easily wind up in the wrong bin. By reading the actual bands and stickers you can be sure of what you are getting.
That's it! By following these three simple tips you can easily segment the store and focus on places where the healthy food is. It's funny but after awhile, you won't even think about those middle isles.
Bonus tip: do yourself a favor and eat before you go grocery shopping. Evil urges are intensified when shopping on an empty stomach.