The grocery store can be both a beautiful and dangerous place. This especially rings true for those of us who love food. I have some crazy ex-girlfriend tendencies when it comes to my relationship with food. I want to see food all the time. I get jealous if other people are around the food that I want. I think about food all the time. Okay… maybe that’s a little bit dramatic. But, ya’ll get what I’m trying to say. Food is bae.
I have told you before that I have had to relearn a lot about the way that I think about food. The food that we put in our body keeps us living, but we do not live for food (still don’t know if I believe that second part). The grocery store is one of the main places that you make the choices that affect what you are going to be eating. Drumroll please… I am going to share a few quick tips that I have learned to crack the code on the grocery store and make it your healthiest trip yet.
- Do your Research & Have a Plan.
- Healthy foods aren’t just going to fall into your basket. You need to do some pre-planning before you show up at the local Kroger. Picking and planning your meals is probably 75% of the battle. I really recommend finding some good accounts on social media to follow that can help inspire you with meal ideas during the week! I’ve gotten some of my favorite recipes from fitness bloggers.
- I also know many people who won’t buy a single thing at the store if it wasn’t on their grocery list whenever they got there. This is an awesome rule to follow if you are an impulse shopper and somehow end up with the whole store in your cart by the end of it.
- Don’t rush & Don’t go Hungry.
- Be prepared to take your time. If you only have 30 minutes and you rush into the store it is going to be hard to find exactly what you need, so you will settle for a less healthy option. Because everyone can find the ice cream aisle.
- This is like the oldest trick in the book. Going to the grocery store when you’re hungry is like voluntarily signing up for torture. It tortures your belly and your wallet. Wanna know the best way to spend $200 dollars? Go to the store when you’re hungry. Have a snack before you get there so you know you are thinking with your mind and not your gut.
- Be willing to go to multiple different grocery stores.
- There is an endless list of grocery stores and I am having a love affair with each of them. It is not abnormal for me to go to four different stores to get all of the things that I need for my grocery list that week. I also understand that this isn’t feasible for everyone. If you do have the time, Sprouts has great deals on fruits & veggies. Kroger is more of my one-stop shop because they carry a little big of everything that I need. WalMart carries a strange selection of items that no one else has, so I like to go there and stock up on those unique things. I will also pay Whole Foods a visit when I really feel like spending my whole paycheck on food. Find the store that’s best for you, but don’t forget sometimes you have to jump around to find what you want.
- Stay on the outer circle.
- Think about your local “chain” grocery store. Everything that is good for you is typically on the outer edges of the store…correct? You need to be doing the bulk of your shopping on those outer areas. You can knock our fruits, veggies, meat, and dairy without every stepping foot in those inner aisles. Try to hang on the outside.
- Read the Labels.
- The nutrition labels on products are there for a reason. Use them. Read the ingredients and if there is something on that list that you cannot easily pronounce, politely set that sucker back down on the shelf. Bodies weren’t meant to break things down that they can’t even pronounce. I don’t eat all natural, all the time. That’s really difficult. But try to be more cautious of what you put in your cart and what you ultimately put into your body.
- Buy things that expire.
- Piggybacking off of number 6. Food isn’t meant to last forever. I mean if you think about it, it’s kind of nasty that a can of clam chowder doesn’t expire until 2056. A bulk of the items that you buy at the store need to actually expire during your lifetime. Non-Perishable is code for chemically enhanced and no kidneys have got time for that.
- Avoid the temptation aisles.
- This goes back to the whole volunteer torture thing. If you love Little Debbie’s, there is no need to cry into a bag of salad while staring at the Zebra Cakes that you love so dearly. Just avoid the aisle, simple as that. I avoid the chip aisle at all costs because I know that there is no way I am walking down that thing without coming out with a bag of Kettle Cooked Jalapeño Chips. I mean I am not Super Woman. Be honest with yourself about your weaknesses and know what your boundaries are.
These quick little seven steps are all rules of thumb that I use whenever I am at the grocery store doing my weekly stock-ups. My carts look very different now than they used to whenever I am at the check-out. I see a balance of proteins, greens, fruit, and a few splurge items. Because who are we kidding here.. life is all about splurging sometimes. Happy Shopping!