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Have you ever wondered how a pro chef would handle your regular shopping list? What tricks would they use to find the best items? Let’s have a look at how chefs shop for popular foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, eggs, and meat. Each category has its specifics but there are helpful rules that apply no matter what the food category.

How to shop for fruits and vegetables

Some fruits and vegetables are more affected by pesticides used in mass farming than others. You should focus on buying strawberries, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, spinach, or apples from local, organic sources, ideally at the farmers market. On the other hand, avocados, pineapples, onions, eggplants, mangos and other produce with a thick skin is much more resistant, and you can get away with buying non-organic in a regular store. Check out the EWG’s Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen to see which group your favourites belong to.

How to shop for eggs

Look for pasture-raised eggs from a local farmer; the main advantage is their freshness. Eggs like that will be more nutritious, last a lot longer in the fridge, and, because pasture-raised hens eat a natural diet, the yolks of their eggs will be a brighter orange and have a stronger flavour. It’s also good to know that white eggs aren’t that different from the brown ones, hens that lay brown eggs are just larger, so they eat more, and the consumer pays a higher price.

How to shop for meat

Buy the whole animal! Maybe not literally, but the point is to buy a variety of animal parts, not just the same chicken breast, and beef steak. You will save money if you buy cheaper cuts and in bulk, a whole chicken is a good example of that. You will be forced to make a healthy bone broth more often. You will have more variety in terms of flavour and nutrition. You will have liver and other organ meats at least a couple of times a month. All of this will inspire you to learn new ways of prepping meat, just like a chef.

How to shop for nuts and seeds

The main issue with nuts and seeds is that the fats they contain are easily oxidized, they go rancid fast. Exposure to light, heat, and oxygen all contribute to this. That’s why it’s best to buy whole, raw nuts or seeds and store them in dark sealed containers. Roasted, sprouted, blanched, or chopped nuts and seeds shouldn’t be stored for long; they are the fastest to oxidize. If you buy them raw in bulk, always be sure to taste them as soon as you get home. That way you’ll remember what they should taste like, and you’ll recognize when they start going bad.