I don’t think it would be a surprise to anyone to hear that I love exercise and think that it is a crucial part of any healthy lifestyle, but there is one thing that is even more important than breaking a sweat and that’s what you eat. Diet is EVERYTHING when it comes to feeling your best–I mean think about it, what you eat goes into your cells and is broken down for energy, meaning that every part of your body is the end result of what you are putting into it. Having skin problems? Lack of energy? Weak nails? All can be tied back to diet. So, if what goes into our bodies is this important, how are we supposed to make sure we are eating the right things? Especially when it seems like there are so many unhealthy options surrounding us when we go to the store? Let’s start with some simple solutions that will help make healthy choices easier at the grocery store.
1. Never Shop When Hungry.
How many times have you gone to the grocery store when you needed to make something for dinner and were already feeling some growling from your stomach? And how much easier was it to grab a frozen pizza or some cheese puffs on those days than the ones where you had a full stomach and a plan of action? Shopping while hungry can sometimes be hard to avoid, but it also makes unhealthy snacks much more appealing. Try to eat a snack before hitting the grocery store and suddenly the idea of fruits and veggies may seem more reasonable. As we all know, if you don’t have tempting, yet unhealthy foods in the house, its a lot harder to eat them and that’s just the way we like it.
2. Make A List.
You already know I’m a big fan of preparation and the grocery store is no exception. I like to meal prep so usually I will decide on my dinners for the week, write down what ingredients I need to make them happen, and once I’ve crossed off everything on my list, I’m ready to head home and start cooking. Note that I don’t add anything to that list once I’m at the store. That makes shopping faster, easier, more cost effective, and doesn’t let me suddenly decide that I neeeeeed that pint of Ben and Jerry’s that just happens to be on sale.
3. Avoid the Middle!
Now, if you already have a list, this one might be redundant, but it is definitely still worth mentioning. Grocery stores are all set up more or less the same way and the are designed to get us to buy as much junk as possible. Sad, but true. HOWEVER, knowing this, you can be armed with the wisdom to beat their game and make better choices for you and your family. So, what do I mean when I say to avoid the middle? Well, the middle aisles of the grocery store are where you tend to find the least nutritious foods available. Chips, cookies, cake mix, you name it, if its shelf life is the same as my life span, you can find it in the middle. Walking the perimeter of the store, you will find produce, the deli, eggs, yogurt….all the things that need refrigeration. These also happen to be the things that will give you the most bang for your buck as far as nutrients so save yourself the temptation of those middle aisles and the time-wasting of going through the entire store looking for what you want and stick to the walls of the store. Your wallet and body will thank you!
When there are billion dollar industries working to convince you to buy their products it can often seem like the deck is stacked against having a well balanced diet, but knowledge is power. Beat the system and better yourself! Do you have any other tricks or tips you follow when it comes to grocery shopping? Let me know!