In an era of excessive advertising, eye-catching health claims, and plenty of clever gimmicks, going grocery shopping has become a dreaded chore! Reclaim your shopping sanity with these tips that can help you save money, increase efficiency, be more conscience of what you’re buying, and ultimately help you live a healthier lifestyle! Intrigued? Well then read on…
Yes, spontaneity can be a wonderful aspect of life; however, it might be best while grocery shopping!
Successful healthy shopping starts before you even walk out the door to go to the store! If you want to shop according to your health goals then try devising a plan before you go to the store. Select your meals, know what you need, and think about where those items are located – and don’t deviate from your plan!
This approach will help you with numerous things. You will be less likely to compulsively buy random items thinking you can make x, y, or z with (I’m guilty of this). You will be able to bargain shop and look for stores that have the items you really want on sale. Seeing what you intend to buy and cook will make you aware of cost: both financial and caloric costs. And planning ahead can do wonders for deliberately adding diversity to your and your family’s diet and lead to you trying new or alternative foods and meals! SO go ahead and make a plan for success in the grocery store. It may sound crazy, but it works!
Stick to the perimeter
What? Stick to the perimeter you say… why would I suggest that? Edge shopping, as I like to call it, is nearly a surefire guarantee to a healthy and successful grocery store run. This is where the whole, fresh foods reside! I’m talking fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products, meats, eggs, and fish. You will be less likely to be bombarded with advertising campaigns, magical health claims, and overly processed foods. Additionally, if you shop with kids, you won’t have them blitzed with fun and colorful advertising campaigns that will inevitably lead to sentences like, “hey Mom/Dad, we NEED this cereal!” This tip is a simple, but very effective strategy. And like many things in life, sometimes simplicity is simply the best choice.
So be like a deer, become an edge species, and shop that perimeter like it is nobody’s business! LOL (yes I said deer, and yes I mean like the animal – they are edge species like we should be)/
Go when you aren’t hungry and have plenty of time
Everyone has heard the tip to shop when you aren’t hungry – this isn’t new. However, I highly encourage that you go shopping, at least a few times, when you have ample time. Why you ask? So you can actually take the time to read the labels – and don’t forget your glasses! It is important to look at labels because we unfortunately can’t assume that products are what they claim to be. Look for short ingredients lists. Aim for items without artificial ingredients; words you can’t read; or very high levels of salt, sugar, or fat.
Unfortunately we can’t assume it will be good and give the product the benefit of the doubt. So be sure read the label of EVERYTHING you buy. I literally mean everything. Spice packets? Not just spices, but often added ingredients and sugar! Canned green beans? Yep, sometimes there is added sugar there too. It may seem too mundane, but you only have to do it a few times before you learn what you want to buy and what you want to avoid.
Be wary of advertising campaigns
Fat free, cholesterol free, and sugar free often equate to added junk! This isn’t always the case, but more often than not it is. This is marketing people behind the scenes preying on what they know you care most about! Yes, we do want to avoid very high levels of fat, cholesterol, sugar, and salt, and that is exactly why they are making those claims – because they know it will lure you in! You can still consider these items, but just be sure to immediately raise a red-flag when you see such claims and pull out your ingredient-reading eyes and look at what’s in that product!
Know your stuff
All-natural and organic doesn’t automatically equate with healthy! Yes, I said it. And whole grain doesn’t always mean whole grain! Is this some cruel prank I’m playing on you? No, it regrettably isn’t! There are plenty of all-natural and organic foods that still can derail you from your shopping plan or diet. Your odds of getting items that are better for you in these sections are higher, but they still can be overly processed, contain very high levels of sugar and salt, and can be extremely calorie-dense. What about the claim whole-grain? Well, you need to bring out those trusty ingredient-reading eyes and check the label again. Often times, they will only include a small amount of whole grain ingredients and the product won’t be 100% whole grain. So make sure to read the label and be a mindful consumer!
Ask yourself if your Grandmother would recognize the product
When all else fails, ask yourself, “would my grandma recognize or buy this product?” This is very helpful tip if you’re stuck in a hardspot and can’t make a decision because there is a great chance your grandmother was raised on real foods, not processed foods and packaged products. Take cheese, for example. You can buy real cheese or “cheese products” which actually aren’t cheese but a bunch of ingredients that make something that resembles cheese. It may even be a good way to explain your decision to your kid – give it a try! Odds are that if you have to ask yourself this question, grandma wouldn’t be buying the product and you shouldn’t either.
If a commercial tells you to buy it, then don’t!
Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t always the case, but stop and think about it. There aren’t many commercials for broccoli, apples, turkey, strawberries, salmon, sweet potatoes, and the list goes on. SO maybe the secret to successful shopping is to avoid foods that have commercials!
So there you have it. In an age when grocery shopping has potentially become a daunting task, you’re provided with seven straight-forward tips to steer you in the right direction. They’ll ensure you shop wisely, safely, and healthfully! Give them a try – they work!
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