Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Successful Shopping Trip

All this week, I talked about what we buy at the grocery store and how it doesn’t take much to have a healthy, delicious meal. But when we enter those four walls packed with tens of thousands of items to choose from, what’s the best way to navigate our way through to get the most success out of our shopping trip?

Don’t shop for groceries when you’re hungry. We all know what happens when we go shopping on an empty stomach. We over fill our carts and bring home items that we’ll more than likely regret eating later on. One of the best ways to prevent ourselves from eating something is to simply not bring it home.

Make a list and stick to it. This takes discipline, especially when you’re faced with the monumental choices on the shelves, but when you realize that the majority of the processed food items in the store are made from depleted/highly processed wheat, corn, soy, and sugar, they may seem less appealing. It also helps if you follow rule number 1 above.

Stick with the perimeter of the store. Most of the healthiest foods are located along the walls of the store in coolers. This can be a good thing if we can avoid walking through the aisles. However, if you’re just running in for milk or eggs, which are normally in the back of the store, you may be tempted to cut through the cookie aisle. I am thankfully at the point that I can look and not touch (if we touch it, we’re more likely to buy it), but for those of you who are not, maybe choose the canned veggie aisle to get to the eggs.

I have noticed, however, that some of the larger chains are working around the perimeter shopping idea. The other day, I was looking for frozen berries and found them in a freezer in the middle of the store. Either way, if you are “going in” for frozen berries or even coconut milk or beans, try to keep it quick.

Even with produce, choose whole, unprocessed over prepared. Peeled and chopped butternut squash may be a time saver, but it can cost several times more than the same amount of whole butternut squash. The same with chopped carrots, broccoli, shredded cheese, etc. The one thing I sometimes find with these conveniences as well is that they become dry and can go bad more quickly. So, for less money, buy the whole food and spend a couple of extra minutes peeling and chopping. Besides, it’s a great way to get an upper body workout! My arms were burning last night after shredding a beet–no weights necessary : )

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