Grocery shopping for a healthy diet can be made stress-free, cheaper, more efficient, and even fun with a few simple ideas.
Shopping for groceries is not usually an enjoyable activity, but it’s a necessary one. When you decide to start eating healthier, new aisles may be opened up to you. Grocery shopping can turn into an adventure with all the new choices of foods available. You may discover vegetables and grains you never knew existed. But where do you begin?
Before you even think about going into a grocery store, sit down with a pen and paper and plan your week’s menu. This will save a lot of time and possible frustration in the grocery store. Make a detailed list of the foods you’ll need. Include healthy snacks like dried fruit, nuts, and popcorn. Planning ahead prevents having to make too many decisions in the store.
Check your list before you leave the house to make sure it contains everything you need so you won’t have to run back to the store later for “one more thing” and end up with ten.
A list also helps avoid ending up with a lot of odd foods, snacks, and condiments instead of the foods you need to make a proper meal.
Organize your list according to where each item is located in the store so you can go directly to the products on your list and save time.
Eat simply, so your diet includes as many “real” foods as possible. Simple foods include fresh or frozen vegetables, fresh fruits, low-fat dairy, legumes, and lean meat. Avoid over-packaged, over-processed foods which may contain too many empty calories, salt, fat, and additives. For instance, instead of packaged instant oatmeal, purchase large flake oats. Not only will it be healthier, but it will also be cheaper. Buy potatoes rather than french fries.
Stock up on healthy easy to eat snacks like veggie sticks and fruit. Unsalted nuts like almonds are also a great snack in moderation. Have these snack foods easily accessible at home so when you are hungry you don’t reach for an easy item that is unhealthy. When you get home from grocery store, cut up the veggies and have them ready in snack containers at your disposal.
Don’t go shopping before dinner or at any time when you are hungry. This can spell disaster for any healthy eating plan. Shop during slow times so you can move quickly and avoid the crowds. This is usually early morning and just before closing time.
If you need to have a healthy snack before you go to help ward off cravings. Enjoy some carrot sticks or a banana before shopping.
Stay along the outside edges of the store as much as possible. This is where you’ll find the vegetables, fruits, meat, dairy, nuts, and other real foods that are the bulk of your healthy diet. Think “not processed” when picking foods. Avoid packages items like crackers, chips, candy, soda, etc.
Beware of products displayed at eye level. High fat, high-profit items are often placed here to encourage impulse buying. Be strong and stick to your list.
It’s possible to save time, save money and eat healthier with a little planning.
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