body clean eating

Better eating through better grocery shopping

Thursday, May 07, 2015 Brittany Lohmann

As a trainer, my clients often seek nutritional advice in addition to help with their exercise regimen. Some individuals merely want to be pointed in the right direction: What books should I read? What videos are there?  What apps can I use to help keep me on track? Others want a little more guidance and need to be shown the right way to navigate their diet and assist in their food choices. 

In today’s post, I want to share my advice for better eating through better grocery shopping. 

Plan Ahead. Perhaps the biggest challenge for many people when they change their diet/lifestyle is the amount of planning and preparation it takes. Know that to make meals complete with whole foods and sustainable ingredients is not impossible, but it does take time. Check your schedule and plan ahead to make the shopping and cooking process that much easier on yourself.

  • Scan grocery store ads. Check out the latest deals, current sales, and cut coupons at your favorite grocery store to help cut back on costs. Then use those same deals to help inspire your menu for the week.
  • Plan out a menu for the week. Note ingredients that recipes call for. Try to choose recipes that complement one another so that if there are leftover fruits, veggies, meat, etc. from one recipe that they are readily available to use in another.
  • Stick to your list. To avoid overspending do not deviate from your list. Avoid picking up items at the register, which are primarily there to trigger impulse buying. 

Grocery Shopping. When going to the grocery store, there are few items to keep in mind to help you avoid purchasing food items you do not need and/or are not good for you.
  • Avoid shopping on an empty stomach. Shopping while you are hungry can sometimes cause you to deviate from your grocery list and lead to impulse purchases. You will be more likely to fall into cravings if your stomach is empty rather than when you are satiated. 
  • Spend the most time in the produce section. Choose from a variety of fruits and veggies (emphasis on the veggies!) Note which ones are in abundance as those are likely to be in season and will have more nutritional value, taste better, and cost less. Also, if you worried about which produce you can buy organic or conventionally, check out these lists: The Dirty Dozen & The Clean Thirteen.
  • Stick to the Perimeter. Sticking to the store’s perimeter will keep you by the produce section, but then will most likely lead you to the butcher. Those meats, rather than the ones kept in the frozen section, are fresh and will contain the most nutrients. Staying within outside of the market will prevent you from purchasing processed foods, which are primarily kept in the middle aisles of the stores.
  • Read labels. When you have to venture into the middle aisles begin reading the product labels. If you cannot pronounce the ingredients on the list, try to find a different, more wholesome option and/or avoid the food altogether. 

Taking a little extra time to plan ahead before you head to the store will not only help you with better eating but it can also help you save money. Healthy eating doesn’t necessarily have to cost you a lot of money if you take a few extra precautions. In addition, learning how to navigate the store and their products can lead to more wholesome food choices and better overall nutrition. 

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