How many times have you gone to the grocery store with the intent to pick up “a couple things” only to leave the store with two or more full grocery bags?
When was the last time you saw a special food display at your local grocery store and bought something you really didn’t need, but purchased it anyway on impulse?
Did you buy things you normally wouldn’t, but did so anyway because you went grocery shopping while you were really hungry?
If you answered yes at least once, don’t worry--it happens everyday and to almost anyone.
Here are some helpful and 15 practical ideas that you can incorporate immediately to assist you make healthy decisions and improve the results of your shopping:
1. Plan ahead
Sit down and plan at least three days (a week is better) worth of meals. Although it might seem time consuming, proper meal planning in advance will make your life simpler and less expensive.
2. Look online for your favorite Grocery store’s Ads
Most of us go to a grocery chain store for the majority of our food. Perhaps we frequent a couple. Find their website and see what they have to offer week-to- week. Who subscribes to newspapers anymore? They are now online, so I use this resource all the time.
3. Make a List
Using the online advertisements and your recipe file, make a food shopping list. Don’t forget to include all of the ingredients that you need for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and a few healthy snacks.
4. If you have kids, don’t take them
Don’t take the kids – If at all possible, leave the kids at home. Hey, it’s Dad’s or maybe Aunt Laurie’s turn to watch them for an hour.
You need to go to the store without the kids because they won’t:
- Run down the aisles
- Put items in the cart that you don’t want
- Nag you to buy things you know that nobody needs
- Focus and finish quicker
- Have a little down time
5. Eat before you shop
If you’re hungry, the chances of impulse buying skyrocket. To solve this problem, have a snack—preferable a piece of fruit—before you go to the store.
6. Wear your pedometer
You’d be surprised at how many steps you walk at the grocery store.
7. Park in a spot that’s not too close
With the addition of your pedometer, enjoy this time for walking, so walk a little more. This gives you some time for yourself, and provides some more activity while you shop.
8. Grab a cart
If you’re purchasing at least three days worth of food, you’re going to need a cart. A cart gives you the freedom to take your time to find what you need. It actually lowers stress. By getting a basket, you’re only going to buy a few items, and if you add more, the basket will get heavy. Believe me, I’ve been there, done that………………:)
9. Go to the produce section first
Many people are tempted to buy the first thing they see when they walk in or something that they want but don’t need. By going to the produce section first, you’ll buy more fruits and vegetables.
10. Don’t forget to check the higher and lower parts of the shelves
In order to increase sales, many name brands or more expensive foods are put at eye level. Typically they aren’t the healthiest. Often, you’ll find the least expensive and most nutritious products on the upper and lower shelves.
11. Stick with your plan
With practice, you’ll start to only buy what’s on your list. If you forget something chances are you won’t forget it the next time.
12. Read the Food Labels!
13. Don’t be tempted by store displays or what somebody else is buying
We’re all different; we are in our own pursuit of a healthy lifestyle. The things that distract you while you are shopping probably occur for a reason—they tempt you. Temptation is a human trait you’ll never lose but can learn to cope with. Therefore, those “buy one, get one free chips,” or “half-price cookies” are on display for a damn good reason. So you will buy them. By buying them, you’re falling right into the seller’s hands. Just remember this, if you are tempted to stray from the reservation, tell yourself: “I made this list and I’m going to stick to it!”
14. Skip the snack food aisle, or stroll down it to prove you won’t buy from it
The bottom line is to keep the healthy foods in your cart and the unhealthy foods out. Remember, the easiest way to avoid eating unhealthy foods is to just say no and not buy them.
15. Plan a “To Shop Time“
A good time for me to go to the store is right after breakfast or lunch. Those times are probably the least crowded making it more efficient for you.
This is my list to help you by providing you with ideas for a healthy grocery store adventure. Do you have any more? Feel free to add to the list, because...
After all, it’s about a healthy lifestyle!