Grocery Shopping tips and list (scroll for full list!):
We should admit that we used to not enjoy grocery shopping. Let’s clarify that…we love going to different farmer’s markets and talking to the farmers. We also love checking out all the health food stores for new wellness items. What we realized is that we prefer the smaller stores. We do not enjoy the big box type stores that are crazy busy and carry a lot of big box type products. We are much more interested in finding local, artisanal, healthy, and sometimes trendy options.
When we do go to the grocery store, we love strolling along the fresh produce section choosing what’s in season, picking out some wild fish, just baked sourdough, and then head over to the health food section for organic eggs, coconut milk, and whatever else is on the list. We love skipping past all of the generic aisles that are more often than not, filled with processed items. These usually have health washing all over their labels and no nutrition inside.
Grocery shopping has become a happy activity and that’s due to some grocery shopping tips that we want to share with you too.
Five Well Club tips for Grocery Shopping:
1. DON'T GO HUNGRY
We do not recommend going to the grocery store on an empty stomach. Your cravings will be hard to resist when the hunger hormone “ghrelin” takes over. This happens when your blood sugar isn’t balanced due to skipped or missed meals. Your willpower won’t stand a chance when your tummy is growling at you to buy the treats.
Have a big glass of water and a small snack before you go if you are planning on having your meal afterwards.
2. STICK TO YOUR LIST
Making a list will keep you not only organized but will also help save you time and money. Planning meals and listing ingredients will help you from over buying, creating waste, and also wasting your time wandering aimlessly around the store.
Your list will help keep you on your healthy eating plan and prevent you from going off track when passing the junk aisle. It will also help you to stay on budget without purchasing unnecessary items.
3. SHOP THE PERIMETER
The perimeter of most grocery stores are where all of the produce is found. The meat and seafood sections are also found there, as well as the bakery and refrigerated items. The aisles can be dangerous as this is where the packaged usually processed and artificial items are lurking.
Obviously, the aisles cannot be completely or always avoided. Sometimes boxed or jarred items are needed. But if the majority of your cart is filled with veggies, fruit, and protein there won’t be a lot of room left for the packaged stuff.
4. READ THE LABLES
If you venture into the aisles be sure to read the labels. The easiest rule to follow when reading labels is to look for as few ingredients as possible. Ensure that you are familiar with what you read being listed. If you can not pronounce an ingredient or recognize what it is, then your body won’t be able to recognize it either.
Many packaged items contain added preservatives, sugars, flavouring, colouring, and processed oils. Companies can also use the word “natural” which has no governing whatsoever and can mean up to 100 different fake ingredients. Be aware and informed.
5. FROZEN VS. FRESH
Fresh isn’t always the better choice. If you are purchasing out-of-season produce that traveled a far distance from another country you may be better off choosing frozen organic instead.
The frozen organic may be more nutrient dense. This is because the produce was most likely picked before fully ripe so it won’t become rotten before it reaches its final destination. Unfortunately, that means it will lack nutritional value and also in taste. When organic produce is flash frozen it will be more nutrient dense as compared to the same item that is fresh but off season and not local. It will also be more affordable than conventional fresh.
Of course, when produce is in season, fresh will be more nutrient dense, tastier, and more affordable.
Depending on where you live, farmer’s markets may not be operating at this time of year. Also depending on your budget it is not always feasible to do all of your shopping at smaller and sometimes more expensive health food stores. Finally, depending on your time it might not be ideal to have to make several stops just to complete your list. Perhaps you make one visit per week to pick up your necessities and one more to pick up specialty items. Find a system that suits your budget and your time, without having to sacrifice your health. After all, the type of food we consume matters, but that’s a whole other topic for another blog post.
Here is a typical list of the basics:
-berries (frozen if not in season)
-green lettuce (usually 2 types)
-alternative milk (rotate types)
-nut butter (rotate types)
So grab your Well Club tote (coming soon) and let’s go!