Healthy Grocery Shopping Guide
Grocery Shopping can be a little daunting, especially if you’re buying for more than just yourself! Here I wrote a list of rules I tend to stick by when grocery
shopping. These really help to make my trips quicker and more efficient, not to mention help me stay on track with my health and fitness goals! Hopefully my little guideline helps you to get a bit organized, make healthier choices, and not dread grocery shopping so much!
1. Fail to Prep, Prep to Fail
Have an idea of what kind of meals you’ll be making for the next few days. Having a list of what foods you actually need for your planned meals helps to keep you from impulse buying a ton of stuff that could go to waste, or not be that great for you, and saves you a bit of money by not buying in excess. Preparing for the grocery store can be a little time consuming but it can save you money and time later in the week- not to mention keeping you on track with your health and fitness goals!
2. Creature of Habit (Kind Of)
We are what we repeatedly do, and if you repeatedly eat a simple, healthy meal you’re only helping to better yourself. This can be the start to getting used to eating in more healthy ways. Learn what your favorite staple meal is, something you don’t mind eating often, and keep your fridge and pantry stocked with the ingredients for your staple meal all of the time. For example I love a simple organic salad of spinach, tomatoes, radishes, mushrooms, bell pepper and a home made tahini dressing. I could (and do!) eat it for lunch almost every day. I ALWAYS have these items at home; I know the salad is easy to make, I enjoy it enough to be able to eat it once a day, and the groceries are easy to find, organic, and low-cost.
Pick something easy to make, made with whole food ingredients, and make sure it’s something you won’t mind eating time and time again. This may sound boring, but I promise it works. It’s easy to not have to think about what to make for lunch, this way you can save some creativity and motivation for a more demanding dinner!
3. Work the Perimeter
When grocery shopping stick to the perimeter of the store layout, this is where all of the fresh produce and meats can be found. The center aisles are all full of processed foods that are, while convenient, full of fillers, preservatives, and a ton of other little nasty ingredients you want to stay away from. The only reason you may need to venture into the dreaded aisles are to find olive or coconut oil, or some random baking essentials. If you do find yourself needing to go down the aisle get what you need and get out! Be sure to stick to that list you made earlier! Those aisles are full of foods that look so enticing and even though they may be organic or cater to your specific dietary needs… they are still highly processed! Ain’t nobody got time for dealing with processed foods.
4. Be Strict… but also Flexible
Have your list, and stick to it! Buuuut…. be flexible. I know, it sounds contradicting… but hear me out! Occasionally some of my staple produce are unavailable, and when that happens I allow myself a moment of feeling bummed out, and then I think “ok… well what is available to me? what could be a good substitute? Why don’t I try something new or that I don’t normally buy and see how I like it?” There are always options, and trying new fruits and veggies certainly won’t hurt you! Who knows, you may find a new vegetable to obsess over… that’s how I found my love for radishes!
5. Go Organic Based on “The Dirty Dozen” and ” The Clean Thirteen”
Choose which foods you buy organic carefully. While it would be amazing to be able to buy all of my food organic, my budget just doesn’t allow for that. If I plan on eating any leafy greens or foods where I will eat the skin (like an apple, tomato, carrot, etc.) I make sure to only buy organic. Other items where I discard the skin or shell (Banana, Avocado, Nuts) I can buy non-organic, even though organic options are usually available. There is also a list made yearly consisting of “The Dirty Dozen and Clean Thirteen”. The dirty dozen are foods you should only ever buy organic due to the extremely high amounts or pesticides they’re exposed to. The clean thirteen are foods that have the lowest amount of pesticide exposure and are considered the safest non-organic foods to eat.
6. Quality over Quantity
When it comes to meats and seafood, quality is insanely important. You really do want to make sure you’re purchasing organic and/or non-GMO meats. This is something I personally consider non-negotiable. If I can’t find fish that is wild caught and hasn’t been tampered with in the packaging process, I won’t buy it. If I can’t find poultry and meat that is certified organic, non-GMO, free range, and fed a soy-free diet, I won’t buy it. That’s that, the negative impact GMO foods can have on your health and on the environment is not worth it. Remember, while meat and fish can be a great way to supplement your diet with essential proteins and healthy fats they are not necessary to eat every single day at every single meal.