A good homemade meal starts with good ingredients. And good ingredients don’t just magically appear in our refrigerators. Unless you live on a farm or have your own garden, for most of us they come from the GROCERY STORE. Through working with clients, I have found that a lot of people forget a key component to getting food on the table or a lunch packed every day… a successful trip to the grocery store!
Here are a few ‘grocery rules’ that can help you stay more organized, eat healthier throughout the week, and make sure you aren’t stuck ordering take out every week!
1. Go in with a plan and a written grocery list.
Keep it simple. The plan needs to come BEFORE you go grocery shopping! This way you know you’ll whatever you need, instead of trying to create meals from a fridge full of random food. Your list should have at least 2-3 protein sources, 2-3 carbs, 5-6 veggies and fruits and a couple of fat sources.
2. Read EVERYTHING.
Not just the calorie count. Just because a product contains lower calories than another option doesn’t mean its a ‘healthier’ choice. If it has a label, read the ingredients. If it doesn’t, that is because it IS an ingredient! Not all processed foods are bad- however, we want to make sure that the majority of what we buy at the store are whole foods, not things in packages and boxes with long ingredient lists.
3. Avoid the trigger aisles.
If you know that you have certain ‘weaknesses’ when it comes to food, stay away from where those foods are located in the store. It is much easier to avoid eating Oreos every night if you don’t buy them, and it is easier to avoid buying them if you go to the store and don’t SEE them. Remember, what you have is what you will eat! If you make good decisions at the store, making good decisions at home will be much easier. Don’t use your kids or partner as an excuse: if you are grocery shopping and cooking the meals, they will eat what you give them.
4. Buy (some) frozen food.
In a perfect world we would eat each meal freshly made by a gourmet chef.. But thats not real life! Frozen fish, meat, fruit and vegetables can make meals faster or easier to prepare, but I am not recommending frozen fish sticks. Like with any other product… READ the ingredients! Use frozen fruit or vegetables instead of ice in a smoothie. Organic beef or wild fish MUCH cheaper frozen than fresh. My favorites? Frozen cauliflower rice and wild salmon fillets!
5. Stay the same… but different.
You don’t need to by EXACTLY the same thing every week, but you can stick to ‘guidelines’. You can always find apples and bananas and carrots and broccoli for sale. However, eating fruit and vegetables that are in season can help you save money and helps you fill in all your vitamin and mineral needs. Don’t know how to prepare a new food? Try Google, or do what I do with 95% of all veggies and just stick it in the oven with a bit of olive oil and salt!
These are just some simple tips for you to improve the root of where many of our healthy eating obstacles stem from! Sometimes it seems like the things that have the most impact on our nutrition or lifestyle are the big things, the fancy stuff. However, doing the simple things REALLY REALLY well will have the most impact on your health and nutrition over time. Do the basics well, and the rest of it will be much easier.
What are your best grocery shopping tips? Do you tend to buy the same thing every week?