Last week we talked about cleaning out your pantry, and now it’s time to figure out how to restock it with foods that are going to nourish you, keep you on the right track in reaching your health and fitness goals, and keep you feeling full. Here are some general guidelines for healthy grocery shopping (note: these are general guidelines for balanced eating, not recommendations for improving any medical condition, etc. Definitely see a physician and/or registered dietitian for that).
- Schedule regular shopping trips, so that you can never use the excuse “I didn’t have anything else in the house.” Yes, I know it’s a pain. But so is gaining weight from take out
- Always go to the store after you’ve eaten and at a time of day when you tend to have the most energy.
- Plan a week’s worth of meals in advance, as well as snacks, and then make a grocery list. I didn’t always do this, but my husband and I have committed to being more organized with meal planning this year. And, let me tell you…it’s well worth the 15 minutes you spend planning meals and organizing your list. Anything that shortens the time I have to spend in the grocery store is well worth it in my mind.
- Speaking of lists, don’t leave home without one. Lately, I’ve been using my phone to keep a standard grocery list, and I modify it every week, as needed. If your list is on your phone, you’re much less likely to forget it. Even if you’re just running to the store for 3 things…bring your list and stick to it!
- You’ve heard this before…shop the perimeter. And the reason you’ve heard this so many times is because it’s excellent advice. The perimeter houses fresh produce, fish, poultry and dairy. Of course, some stores still try to trick you into picking up chips or soda on the way over to the lettuce…stay strong! The exception to this rule: unsweetened frozen fruits and veggies and dried beans and lentils tend to be in the center aisles.
- See the grocery cart here? Picture this for a minute: As you’re walking the store, place all of the whole foods you buy in the bottom of the cart and processed foods on top. This helps us to be aware of how many processed foods we may tend to buy, and it also naturally limits the amount you can pick up. Cereals, breads, pastas…those go in the top. Fruits, veggies, oats, lentils, meat…plenty of room in the bottom for those. When in doubt, use the ingredient list as a guide…I like to think of anything with more than 7 ingredients as pretty darn processed.
The more you get into the habit of meal planning and shopping regularly, the more it actually becomes enjoyable. Having a well stocked kitchen is absolutely crucial in allowing you to meet goals for weight loss, increased fitness, improved energy, and so much more. Happy shopping!!