When you go grocery shopping, the most important thing is to search for foods that fit in your healthy lifestyle.
In order to do that, you need to make educated decisions that can effectively deliver all of the key nutrients without sacrificing taste and convenience.
We have access to an incredible amount of health information and most of our decisions are based on this information.
We also live in a busy society and we spend the majority of our days at work or on the road, and so the first thing that comes to mind when grocery shopping is the grab and go types of foods.
Since carbohydrates are so much more accessible, there is a real problem when it comes to including fruits, vegetables and protein in our diets.
There are little to no pre-packaged options that include adequate protein, fruits and vegetables.
And if such options did exist, they are usually too expensive to consider on a daily basis.
For that reason, planning is your solution and the key to your success.
I have compiled a list of 5 tips to follow when grocery shopping to keep you on track and help you meet your health, wellness and weight loss goals.
#1 Plan your meals and have a grocery list ready.
When it comes to meal planning and grocery lists, most of us are searching for convenience and budget-friendly options.
Meals should be quick and easy to prepare, containing healthy and natural ingredients that taste good.
By preparing a weekly grocery list, you will have a variety of healthy foods ready to be used in your favorite recipes.
This can be a very helpful strategy to avoid buying things you don’t need and get out of that habit of walking up and down the aisles.
Planning ahead will help you limit your consumption of highly processed foods (i.e. fast food) and make room for nutrient-rich and fiber rich options.
Your grocery list should contain a wide variety of foods that you can mix and match for complete and balanced meals.
Using herbs and spices can really transform a dish and so, you should include them in your list.
#2 Avoid grocery shopping when you’re hungry.
Many of us are guilty of this habit as we tend to go grocery shopping right after finishing work.
This isn’t a good idea since everything will look tempting and it’ll send the wrong message to your brain.
You’ll end up loading up on things you don’t need and spending money you don’t necessarily have; Let alone buying stuff that weren’t part of your healthy eating plan.
You should try and plan your grocery shopping in a way that allows you to have a meal or even a filling snack right before you go.
#3 Start with fresh produce and meat sections.
We tend to get attracted to vibrant colors and the fresh produce section delivers on that and can be a pleasant experience.
Your cart should contain mostly vegetables, especially dark leafy greens and orange coloured vegetables and fruits followed by other colours and other varieties.
You can buy whatever fruits and vegetables that are in season to remain within your budget.
When buying meat, fish is your best bet followed by other types of meats including organs.
I personally find fattier meats budget friendly and tastier in recipes.
Don’t be afraid to buy foods you’ve never tried before and do some research on their benefits.
By doing so, you will ensure you are educating yourself and consuming a variety of fruits, vegetables and protein on a daily basis and reducing carbohydrates, grains and sugar.
#4 Limit packaged foods with added sugars and aim for more fiber.
If you must pay a visit to the packaged foods aisles (it does happen), make sure you are reading the nutritional value table for every packaging and the ingredients list.
The nutritional value in percentage should always be less than 15 % for sodium and Carbohydrates, more than 10% for fiber and more than 5 g of protein.
Any product, for which sugar is the first ingredient, must be avoided.
This is especially true for beverages and your best option is non-caloric drinks, such as water and unsweetened tea and/or coffee.
Even the most natural drinks tend to be high in sugar and lack nutrients.
You are way better off juicing and/or blending your own fresh produce.
#5 Buy in bulk when possible.
The food industry is evolving and food companies are innovating to respond to consumer demands.
And so, there are more and more healthy options that you can buy in bulk and which can last for a long time.
These options are budget-friendly when bought in bulk and can be convenient for when you need a quick and healthy snack.
Options include low-carb bread, low-carb protein bars, dairy-free yoghurt, all natural peanut butter or almond butter, all types of nuts and seeds, low sodium canned beans and/or chickpeas, low-sodium broths, full fat coconut milk, non-dairy milks, oils such as olive and coconut, etc…
You need to always check for clean-labels, organic (when possible), gluten-free and non-dairy (if you have sensitivities) and non-GMO.
Morale of the story
Although there are no preset rules to follow when grocery shopping, there are ways to improve your experience and ensure you don’t go overboard.
Paying attention when buying certain foods will ensure you choose healthy foods for yourself and your loved ones.
If you stick to your plan and only buy what you need, you will not only save money in the long run, but you will make the shopping experience stress-free.