Healthy eating starts with healthy grocery shopping. If you don’t buy unhealthy food, it won’t be readily available and accessible when your day goes badly, you feel especially stressed or cravings kick-in. When we arrive at the grocery store, however, and our kids (or we) are yammering for the newest sugared cereals, cookies or ice cream, it’s easy to get distracted and pulled off-course from even the best of intentions to keep your cart full of the good-stuff and devoid of the bad. The solution? It’s easy. Follow these rules and you’ll be ready to fight off the unhealthy expenditures.
- Make a List. I’m sure you already figured this one out. However, it is important to reiterate. There are times when I run to the store without a list, and when I get there, I “add” things I might not necessarily need…like ice cream. Make your list and categorize your foods by the aisles they are in. When you get to the store, make sure you stick with the list.
- Eat a Pre-Shopping Snack. Studies have shown that people who grocery shop on an empty stomach are more likely to buy more food and foods that are less healthy than if they go shopping on a full or half-full stomach. You don’t need to eat a whole meal beforehand, but definitely eat something so that you don’t feel hungry.
- Leave the Kids at Home. I understand that this isn’t always possible, but if it IS possible, leave your kids at home, with your spouse or their grandparents while you do the grocery shopping. Kids, unfortunately, don’t always appreciate your attempts to keep the household healthy. I’ve seen many parents succumb to their child’s demands to spare an embarrassing scene in the grocery store, only to find their cart filled with unhealthy foods.
- Stick to the Perimeter. Avoid aisles that contain “junk” or unhealthy foods. Many of these foods tend to be located in the center or inner aisles of the grocery store. Most healthier or “whole” foods are located in the perimeter aisles.
- Keep it Fresh. Each grocery gets deliveries at different times. When it comes to purchasing meats, eggs, produce and fish, it is best to get them as fresh as possible. Unfortunately, delivery times may vary, depending on the food. Prioritize purchasing fresh produce, as produce is most likely to lose nutrients over time. Also, look at the expiration dates of the foods you buy. Often, the freshest foods are located on the bottom or in the back of the shelf.
Do you have any tricks to make your grocery shopping experience as healthy as possible?