Grocery Shopping Tips
#1 DON’T SHOP HUNGRY
Make sure you eat a balanced snack or meal prior to venturing out to the grocery store. This is critically important if you are stopping to shop following work. Pack extra snacks, bring them to work and eat them toward the end of your day or on your way to the store. If you find yourself at the store and you are hungry but did not prepare a snack, go to the pre-cut veggies and grab something healthy like cut cucumbers. You can also ask for a sample of sliced turkey when you are at the deli or order a few slices. This will fill you up with smart choices, so you will stick to buying what you need!
# 2 HAVE A PLAN
Prior to going to the grocery store, take the time to surf the web (Pinterest), read recipe books or review your own recipe file to plan out your meals. This way you will know the ingredients that you will need before heading out to the store. Instead of mindlessly shopping and ending up with items that don’t serve you well, you will be mindful and aware of what you are buying. Supermarkets and manufacturers know how to market merchandise to consumers, especially hungry ones that shop without a plan!
# 3 SHOP WITH A LIST
When you have a plan and create a list, you will be less vulnerable to give in to temptation as you go up and down the aisles. Make a commitment to stick to your list. When you take the time to make a shopping list from a meal plan that also includes snacks, you will be more likely to stay the course of your good intentions to eat well.
#4 SHOP THE PERIPHERY
Shop the perimeter of the store first. This is where you will typically find the fruits and veggies as well as the dairy, meat, chicken and fish departments. Within the inner aisles of the store you will mostly find packaged and processed foods. Limit your time here!
#5 THINK ANCESTRALLY
Stop and ask yourself while shopping, would my grandparents or ancestors have had access to this food 100 plus years ago? Our ancestors did not have access to processed foods long ago. Consider eating whole, fresh, natural and unprocessed foods as much as possible... your body will LOVE you for it!
#6 CHOOSE A RAINBOW OF COLORS & WHOLE GRAINS
Choose romaine, kale and spinach over iceberg lettuce. Buy sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes. Consume brown rice or wild rice instead of white rice. Choose more vibrant colored vegetables instead of the pale variety. Colorful vegetables are packed with more nutrients. Purchase whole grain bread or sprouted breads along with brown rice and whole wheat pasta as they contain more fiber. They also help to balance your blood sugar levels, which allow you to stay fuller longer.
#7 SAY GOODBYE TO LIQUID CARBS
Do not put sugary drinks into your cart! Say goodbye to sodas, sports drinks, and fruit juices. These are liquid carbs and are made up of empty calories! They cause your blood sugar to rise significantly. Purchase sparkling water and cut up lemons and limes instead.
You might consider purchasing a water infusion pitcher so you can add berries, watermelon, mint or even cucumber, among other combinations to flavor the water naturally. Check out my previous blog post
for some really great water recipes to change things up a bit! Buy herbal and green teas and make pitchers of iced tea. There are some really great flavored green tea varieties out there! These are tasty alternatives to sweetened drinks! Try to avoid (if possible) drinks that contain artificial sweeteners like Crystal Light with aspartame. There are some varieties that are made with Stevia now that are a much healthier option.
#8 PLAN FOR “REAL FOOD” SNACKS
Just as you create a list and meal plan for your week, do the same with balanced healthy snacks. If you eat 5 or 6 smaller portioned meals or snacks each day, your blood sugar will be more stable and you’ll feel full longer.
#9 GIVE INTO “ONE” CRAVING
Eating healthy for the long-term is about balance. Cutting out foods indefinitely doesn’t work for every one. It’s okay to give in to some of our cravings. If we don’t, we may choose to binge or give up our lifestyle changes when we can’t be perfect. Be smart about your indulgences. If you love ice cream, don’t buy a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, buy the small
mini-pint size and have that available to eat once or twice a week.
#10 READ NUTRITION LABELS
Think about purchasing single ingredient foods. For example, broccoli and apples are single ingredient foods. Avoid processed foods that contain additives, preservatives, trans fats, etc.
Adopt the rule: If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it!
Attempt to stick with items that have 5 ingredients or less and limit foods that are in a box, bag or can. Just because the package says “low fat” or “low calorie” or “good source of” …. Does not mean that it is healthy!
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