Three steps to healthy grocery shopping!

Three steps to healthy grocery shopping!

Eating healthy can seem quite expensive and time-consuming. But with organization, planning and some creativity, you can do it on a budget and within your busy planning.

It’s a nice Saturday morning, and you’re at the supermarket. Like seemingly all other people from your town. The place is packed. You are wandering through the aisles. Your 2-year old is mesmerized by all the colorful packages and tries to grab whatever is within reach. Your 6-year old is obviously bored and it’s hard to keep him going. Oh, by the way, what do you need for the lunch boxes? It’s when you’re asking yourself this question that your toddler, to whom you said “no” for the bazillionth time, chooses to throw his best temper tantrum ever. Once you get him on his feet again, in front of the rest of the world staring at you, you grab some chips and lunch-meat and hurry to the check-out, with a mixed feeling of relief, anger and missing something important.

Does this situation relate somewhat to your life? If you recognize yourself, here are some techniques that you can easily apply so you can save time, money, and maybe sanity for your next grocery shopping trip.

Get it planned.

To be faster, you need to be prepared. You might want to prepare your grocery trip the day before by preparing your meal plan and the list of the ingredients you will need. Once you’re in the store, you know exactly what you need, you avoid buying things you are already stocking up, and you also avoid some impulsive purchases.
Plan your trip right after having eaten. If you’re starving, you will be prone to buy more food than if your appetite is satisfied. And finally, plan your trip at a time someone else can take care of your children, so you can focus on your efficient shopping instead of your parenting.

Get it organized.

Did you ever notice that all grocery stores are set up on the same model? Once you pass the flowers, you find fruits and vegetables, then meat and dairy on the perimeter. And finally, in the middle of the store, you get grains and processed foods. It’s certainly easier to avoid some caramel sauce near the apples than to find some healthy food around candies. You want to load your cart first with fruits and vegetables, so there is less room for the less healthy foods.

The typical layout of a supermarket. In green the zones with the fruits and vegetables, in yellow the zones with meats, dairy and grains (you need them, but not too much!) and in red the zone you shouldn’t go too often (nah, you don’t need these candies…)

 

In the produce section, you may hesitate to buy organic food because of its price. Some fruits and vegetables are very polluted with pesticides, while some others are ok even if non-organic. So knowing this list, you can privilege organic for “the dirty dozen” and non-organic for the “clean fifteen”. Buy in bulk when you can, for example cereals, coffee or nuts. You will save on the price of packaging.

The list of the 12 fruits and vegetables very polluted by pesticides that you should buy organic if possible, and of the 15 “clean” fruits and vegetables that you can buy non-organic without too much afterthought. (https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/index.php).

Get it creative.

Once you’re in the store, you need to be flexible with your list. For example if you see a discount on a seasonal vegetable or fruit, you can buy a lot of it and either freeze it (once it’s washed and cut), or add it to the recipes of the week (on top or instead of another ingredient). Look also for sales and coupons.
In the meat aisle, you may want to try less expensive cuts of meat. Cooking them in the Crockpot makes tougher cuts of meat tender (like for example in a pot-au-feu with all the vegetables you just bought in the produce section.)

 

Just by implementing these 3 steps you will see that you will already be much more efficient in grocery shopping in a healthy way.

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