GROCERY SHOPPING DONE HEATHY
Grocery shopping…. It’s one of those things on our weekly “to do” list that has to get done but may not be the most enjoyable way we can think of spending our time! We struggle with wanting to provide healthy meals and snacks for ourselves and our family, but get sucked into the aisles and aisles of convenience foods. How do we stop that vicious cycle of falling into bad habits with grocery shopping, and creating newer healthier ones?
Set a budget. Going to the grocery store without a budget is like going on an empty stomach. You buy almost anything you see (or your child asks for). Establishing a budget based on what you need for the week, helps keep the amount spent down. It takes a little planning ahead, but not only will it save you money, you will only buy what you can “afford” both for your health and your wallet.
Plan your meals for the week. A weekly/monthly menu planner is a HUGE help! The week is laid out for you- less stress and one less thing to think about every day; the recipes are all right there- healthy meals guaranteed every time and a nice variety each week; and it is an easy way to make your grocery list- based on the meals planned for the week. (Come see me if you would like support on creating a weekly/monthly planner.)
Make a grocery list. Never, never go to the grocery store without a list!! Without one, it’s a free-for-all, and with all the bright colored packaging, sale signs and false advertising on the conveniently packaged foods, how can you resist? You are bound to leave the store with lots of unhealthy choices. Making a grocery list based on the nutritious meals planned for the week will help you stay on track and avoid the black hole of junk food.
If you have a little shopper with you, get them involved! One way to distract your children from all the “goodies” on the shelves is to allow them to help. It’s fun for them to go on a scavenger hunt for the foods you need. And it also makes them feel a part of what goes into preparing healthy meals. Give them their own list of groceries, or ask them to pick 2-3 things off your list and make it fun by seeing how fast they can get back to the cart.
Shop the perimeter of the grocery store. If you notice when you walk into any grocery store, the perimeter of the store contains all the whole foods like fruits, vegetables, eggs, dairy, and meats that are the most nutritious. The aisles contain all the pre-packaged, convenient foods full of sugar, sodium and hydrogenated oils- most of which are very unhealthy for you. Although you want to try to avoid the aisles as much as you can, there are some healthy choices, such as nuts and seeds, whole grains like oats, quinoa, brown rice, beans and legumes, etc. This is when you list comes in handy!! Following your list when perusing through the aisles allows you to stick to what you need and not be sucked in by all the pretty packages.
Never go hungry! Eat something substantial before going grocery shopping. This will help cut down the amount of groceries that wind up in your cart and will also help with the cravings you may get while smelling those bagels from the bakery.
Read the labels. The rule of thumb is if there are ingredients you cannot pronounce or there are more than 5-6 ingredients, put it back on the shelf! It is most likely filled with preservatives, fillers, flavorings, colorings, sugar, sodium and trans-fats (or hydrogenated oils).
**See more information under “Reading Food Labels”.