9 Healthy Grocery Shopping Tips
Grocery shopping can be daunting and confusing if you’re trying to buy healthy foods without blowing your budget. Certified Health Coach, Linda Arrandt, works with clients on making healthy shopping trips less stressful. Linda shares how she helps clients navigate the grocery store with these healthy grocery shopping tips.
#1 DON’T SHOP HUNGRY
Make sure you eat a balanced snack or meal prior to venturing out to the grocery store. This is critically important if you are stopping to shop following work. Pack extra snacks, bring them to work and eat them toward the end of your day or on your way to the store. If you find yourself at the store and you are hungry but did not prepare a snack, go to the pre-cut veggies and grab something healthy like cut cucumbers. You can also ask for a sample of sliced turkey when you are at the deli or order a few slices. This will fill you up with smart choices, so you will stick to buying what you need.
# 2 HAVE A PLAN
Prior to going to the grocery store, take the time to surf the web, read recipe books or review your own recipe file to plan out your meals. This way you will know the ingredients you will need before heading out to the store. Instead of mindlessly shopping and ending up with items that don’t serve you well, you will be mindful and aware of what you are buying. Supermarkets and manufacturers know how to market merchandise to consumers, especially hungry ones that shop without a plan.
# 3 SHOP WITH A LIST
When you have a plan and create a list you will be less vulnerable to give in to temptation as you go up and down the aisles. Make a commitment to stick to your list. When you take the time to make a shopping list from a meal plan that also includes snacks, you will be more likely to stay the course of your good intentions to eat well.
#4 SHOP THE PERIPHERY
Shop the perimeter of the store first. This is where you will typically find the fruits and veggies as well as the dairy, meat, chicken and fish departments. Within the inner aisles of the store you will mostly find packaged and processed foods. Think about purchasing single ingredient foods. For example, broccoli and apples are single ingredient foods. Adopt the rule: If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it. Attempt to stick with items that have 5 ingredients or less and limit foods that are in a box, bag or can.
#5 THINK ANCESTRALLY
Stop and ask yourself while shopping, would my grandparents or ancestors have had access to this food 100 plus years ago? Our ancestors did not have access to frozen or processed foods long ago. They probably ate farm fresh eggs, porridge and oatmeal. Consider eating whole, fresh, natural and unprocessed foods as much as possible.
#6 CHOOSE A RAINBOW OF COLORS & DARKER HUES
Choose romaine, kale and spinach over iceberg lettuce. Buy sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes. Consume brown rice or wild rice instead of white rice. Choose more vibrant colored vegetables instead of the pale variety. Colorful vegetables are packed with more nutrients. Purchase whole grain bread or sprouted breads along with brown rice and whole wheat pasta as they contain more fiber. They also help to balance your blood sugar levels, which allow you to stay satiated longer.
#7 SAY GOODBYE TO LIQUID CARBS
Do not put sugary drinks into your cart! Say goodbye to sodas, sports drinks, and fruit juices. These are liquid carbs made up of empty calories. They cause your blood sugar to rise significantly. Purchase sparkling water and cut up lemons and limes instead.
You might consider purchasing a water infusion pitcher so you can add berries, watermelon, mint or even cucumber, among other combinations to flavor the water naturally. Buy herbal teas and make pitchers of iced tea such as Celestial Seasonings Red Zinger. These are tasty alternatives to sweetened drinks!
#8 PLAN FOR “REAL FOOD” SNACKS
Just as you create a list and meal plan for your week, do the same with balanced healthy snacks. If you eat 5 or 6 smaller portioned meals or snacks each day, your blood sugar will be more stable and you’ll feel full longer. Like Dr. Sears suggests, grazing is key! This concept is to have fist-sized portions of food at every meal. Rather than having 3 square meals, have 6 mini-meals/snacks per day.
#9 GIVE INTO “ONE” CRAVING
Eating healthy for the long-term is about balance. Cutting out foods indefinitely doesn’t work for every one. It’s okay to give in to some of our cravings. If we don’t, we may choose to binge or give up our lifestyle changes when we can’t be perfect. Be smart about your indulgences. If you love ice cream, don’t buy a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, buy the small overpriced mini-pint size and have that available to eat once or twice a week. Or better yet, learn to make your own ice cream!
Linda Arrandt, BA, CHC, AADP received her training from the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute in 2015, but has prior education and certifications in the health and wellness field. She is a contributing writer for Yahoo Beauty, teaches wellness courses and speaks on various health and wellness topics in corporations, schools and community centers.
Working in this field is much more than a job for Linda – it is a passion! She enjoys living a healthy lifestyle herself and empowers others to do the same. In her Health Coaching practice she helps individuals and groups improve overall health in simple and attainable ways. Linda’s motto is, “It’s not about perfect, it’s about better.” Linda believes that making small, gradual sustainable changes add up big over time. You can follow her on Instagram @simpleandwell and on Twitter @wellcoach312.