Ahhh… grocery shopping. Something we all love to hate. It can feel like quite the chore — but it also feels good having a fridge full of a variety of foods.
The problem is, by the time we actually make it to the store, we’re looking for options that are easy and convenient. And that usually means we are bagging up foods that aren’t so great for us at the checkout line.
So how can you level up your grocery shopping experience in a way that leaves you with a cart full of healthy, nourishing options instead of opting for the easy stuff?
Well, there are a few easy tips to making sure you stick to a nourishing food plan.
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Shop The Perimeter
Towns across every city have different versions of the traditional grocery store. The names might be different but the idea is the same — and so is the layout (for the most part).
All of these items are generally on the outer loop of the store. The processed stuff that you want to avoid is going to be in the aisles.
Granted you’re going to want to get a few things from the other parts of the store — but most of your cart should be filled with those perimeter items.
Read The Labels
Marketing has gotten really good — which can mean bad news for us.
“Skinny” snacks and “Made with Natural Ingredients” are the show stopping headlines on products that leave you considering purchasing something that’s “better” (yeah, right) for you.
I mean, it sounds like it’s healthy. So isn’t it?
Many times the answer is no.
Take low fat items for example. A Certified Dietitian at Inspira Health states “Unfortunately, foods marked ‘low fat’ or ‘no fat’ may be lower in fat but higher in sugar, salt or other high-calorie ingredients to make the food taste better.”
It’s good to brush up on how to read food labels and what to look out for so you don’t fall victim to unhealthy, “healthy” stuff.
Consider The Season
In the deep heat of summer, the cool breeze of fall and every season in between — food grows. But not all the same kind right?
It can be fun to use that to your advantage when you’re looking for new, healthy meals. Shake up those recipes with what you can find in the garden.
That’s just a sneak peek of some seasonal veggies to play around with. There’s a lot of options available! So add a little variety to your meal plan during different times of the year.
Keep It Colorful
What would you do if you handed your child (or any child really) a bunch of crayons in shades of grays and browns?
I bet they wouldn’t be very excited about their afternoon art session.
Same goes for your shopping cart!
If you’re finding that you’re stocking up on a lot of boxed or bagged goods — it might be time to reconsider your purchases.
You should have a rainbow of colors in the checkout line (and I don’t mean bags of starbursts). Keep to whole food options that are going to nourish your body and fill you with essential nutrients.
Skip Tempting Items
There’s a pretty funny viral challenge going around…
Parents lay out a handful of gummy snacks in front of their kids and suddenly (wink, wink) remember that they have to grab something from the other room. They say — “Hold on! Wait until I get back to eat your gummies!”
They set up a camera ahead of time to watch which kids listen to instructions and which ones cave to the temptation in front of them.
So the lesson here? Temptation can be hard to fight when it’s right in front of you.
If you are shopping and put something in your cart that you know you might regret eating later — it might be best to replace it with something that’s not going to taunt you when you’re at home.
Plan It Out
Are you typically someone who loves lists and staying organized? Or are you someone who likes to wing things and see how it goes?
Sorry to say to those free spirited people — you might want to consider taking a page from the organizers.
It’s going to be really hard to go to the grocery store hungry and without a plan and not buy unnecessary things.
Eat a snack and jot down your meal plans before heading out the door. This way, when you are shopping, you can breeze past the empty calorie items and go straight for the good-for-you stuff.
It might take a few more considerations — but the payoff is worth it if you really want to make a difference in your diet and what you’re putting into your body.
✓ Shop the perimeter for whole food options
✓ Watch out for tricky labels
✓ Purchase foods that are in season
✓ Include fresh and colorful options
✓ Opt out of buying tempting items
✓ Make a plan for your grocery store trip
You’ll be well on your way to having a more successful shopping experience with these tips and tricks.