Updated: Oct 1, 2020
I don't know how you feel, but to me, grocery stores are fun places. There are so many products that I want to try! Whether it be new chips flavors or smoothies on display at the front, or fruits and vegetables I've never tried before, I find myself reaching out to take a look.
For many of you, and let's be honest, me too, it may the same old temptations- the candy bars, the cookies, the ice cream, the frozen pizzas, or chicken nuggets.
I'm gonna share some of my tips for success in grocery shopping so that I come home with what I need.
Number 1: Plan your meals
I cannot stress this enough. Planning your meals is not only going to help you in the grocery store, but it's going to help keep you on track with healthy eating overall. And it doesn't have to take long!
Here's what I do. I grab my computer and a few cookbooks. I look at what I have in my fridge and pantry already. Then I start trying to find recipes that use those ingredients I already have. So if I have leftover tomatoes and beans from the night before, I might start looking for a taco recipe. If I have dried pasta and spinach, I look into making spaghetti with veggies added to the marinara sauce. Write down the additional ingredients you need to make a full meal, including vegetables or grains you may want on the side.
After planning your dinners, think about what you may need for breakfasts and lunches over the week. Bread for toast and sandwiches? Milk alternatives for your cereal or overnight oats? Add as much as you can think you will need for this week onto your list.
Feel free to leave some things "open". Instead of writing apples, oranges, pears, and broccoli for lunches and sides, I often just write "fruit" and "vegetables x 5 nights". This enables you to pick the fruits and vegetables that are on sale or in season. However, make sure to write specific vegetable ingredients you need for your main meals.
Number 2: Stick to your list, mostly.
Walk through the store and try to stick to the things you wrote down on the list. Be flexible to change brands or items based on sales or store promotions. If you see something on sale that you know you will use every week and that has a long shelf-life (like plant-based milk, whole grain pasta, or marinara sauce) then feel free to buy extra.
Number 3: Allow yourself 2-3 "extra" items.
I find that planning on those fun extra items like a new dark chocolate bar or a healthy snack helps me feel free to buy them and not feel guilty. I believe in food freedom and not restriction, so enjoy a few treats. But there is also wisdom in taking a second to evaluate.
Number 4: Just because it's in the basket doesn't mean I HAVE to buy it.
Sometimes if I've added something to my basket on impulse like a bag of chips or cookies, then I just take time to think about that item a little further before buying it. Is there a healthier version of this I can buy? Can I make this at home with ingredients I already have?
When you are just beginning your health journey and have trouble controlling those impulses then sometimes it's better not to have trigger foods in your house. There's a fun motto that you can remember in these instances "out of sight, out of mind, and out of mouth". It honestly is so much easier to choose healthy foods when all you have is healthy foods in your house!
Number 5: Always improve
If you struggled this week to control those impulses or didn't have time to make a shopping list, then try again next week! Habits take a long time to change, so give yourself grace and try to do better next time.
I hope this guide is helpful to you. Feel free to reach out to schedule a grocery store tour with me!