Good nutrition begins with the grocery list. Without healthy and nutritious ingredients in our kitchens making meals that nourish our bodies is difficult. However, knowing what to buy when you are at the grocery store can feel overwhelming. Most of us don’t have the time to stand in the store reading long label after long label, it’s just too time consuming. Even with having to read long ingredient lists (because it is important to know what is going into our bodied), grocery shopping in a healthy way does not have to be stressful. The following four tips help keep grocery shopping from feeling like such an intimidating task.
Healthy grocery shopping begins long before we even step foot into our local grocery stores. Many health experts recommend planning meals for an entire week and assessing what ingredients will be needed to make these meals. Preparing a list in advance of heading to the store helps reduce the amount of time we spend in the grocery store wondering whether we will actually need this item or that item. In addition to reducing the amount of time spent in the grocery store, writing everything we need for a week forces us to really take a good look at what we are planning to put into our bodies. Sometimes, seeing things on paper makes us think twice about the food we intend to purchase.
Shop on a Full Stomach
One of reasons we come home with extra cookies, chips, ice cream and other poor food choices is that we go grocery shopping when we are hungry. Grocery shopping on an empty stomach leads to making bad decisions. When our stomachs are empty our ability to resist temptation is significantly lowered. Keep impulse purchases to a minimum by making sure to shop full and never hungry.
Shop the Perimeter
The layout of most grocery stores is similar. The perimeter is generally where the fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat and fish are stocked. By spending the majority of our time in the stores perimeter, we limit the amount of temptation we face in the form of prepackaged, fat and sugar laden products. Walk the outer portion of the store first stocking up on fresh produce, lean meats and low-fat dairy options. When heading towards the center of the store, stick to the list and only buy what is written down. Choose whole grains when purchasing items such as breads and pastas to help increase the amount of healthy food in the cart.
While not the most cost effective option, sometimes the added convenience of food that has already been portioned is worth the increase in price. Most of us are constantly rushing around from one obligation to the next, leaving the amount of time available for spending hours preparing healthy food limited. Choosing vegetables and fruit that has already been sliced and snacks such as nuts that have been portioned can make eating healthy easier even with the crazy schedules we keep.
Grocery shopping in a health conscious way doesn’t have to be a time consuming chore or a confusing expedition. By spending a little extra time preparing for our grocery trips, we eliminate the frequency of impulse purchases. Vary the types of fruit and vegetables bought and keep a large array of spices on hand to create endless healthy options.