Healthy Grocery Shopping 101
I get it, grocery shopping isn’t rocket science, but when you are venturing into a new lifestyle that has to do with food it can be daunting. Learning a new grocery store can be overwhelming enough. I love it when I find “my grocery store” and get to know it like the back of my hand. It makes shopping fast and fun. Then you move and have to hunt for a new grocery store all over again. During our military moving years the first thing I scouted out in our new town was my new grocery store! Trust me, I know learning a new way of shopping is annoying enough, but shopping for a new way of eating can be way more stressful!
First, I ALWAYS MAKE A LIST!! Never go to the store without a list, especially when you are a relearning how to shop! Another great tool for grocery shopping is ONLINE SHOPPING and pick up, don’t underestimate this luxury. When you are first venturing into the realm of Paleo, Primal, Keto, or any healthy eating lifestyle online shopping can be your BFF! It really alleviates the open-mouth, zombie-like wandering in the grocery store when you are searching for ingredients you never knew existed…coconut aminos for example. Online shopping can also help you KEEP THAT BUDGET IN CHECK!
CATEGORIZE YOUR LIST. I always categorize my list into 3-4 columns. The columns are in the order I shop around the store. I know this may sound a little OCD and maybe it is, but this will keep you from shopping back and forth all over the grocery store.
MY LIST CATEGORIES ARE SIMPLY-
PRODUCE: My first column is ALWAYS PRODUCE. This is where the bulk of my groceries come from. We eat a TON OF VEGGIES and some fruit.
MEAT: The next Column is ALWAYS MEAT. The meat section of the grocery store is usually on the back aisle from the produce section.
GROCERY: The next column is simply labeled Grocery. These items are anything I might have to actually venture down an aisle to get. I include dairy in this category as well.
OTHER: The final column is labeled Other. These are items like paper towels, laundry detergent and such. This is usually only a couple of items each shopping trip, and usually items that are not edible.
After the list, the MAIN THING I PAY ATTENTION TO WITH LIST ITEMS IS INGREDIENTS!
BECOME A LABEL READER!!! If there is one habit I can encourage you to adopt it is to BECOME A LABEL READER!!!
Here is a short list of things to CUT OUT OF YOUR DIET TODAY and if any of these are in the ingredients list of your products put them back on the shelf.
#1: I NEVER BUY A PRODUCT WITH ANY KIND OF VEGETABLE OIL IN IT!!! CUT OUT ALL VEGETABLE OIL TODAY!
#2: I DON’T BUY GRAINS EVER. There is really no reason at all to buy grains. Forget the bread aisle! Just pretend it doesn’t exist.
#3. WHEAT IS HIDDEN IN EVERYTHING. Read your labels and if it contains wheat just put it back.
#4. I DON’T BUY REFINED OR ADDED SUGAR PRODUCTS. No need to buy refined sugar anymore or any products that contain added sugar. If you want a sweet treat buy some dark chocolate with 75% cocoa or higher.
#5. I TRY TO BUY ALL ORGANIC PRODUCE. If you can’t get all organic don’t sweat it, but if you can that’s better.
Don’t be fooled by ingredients that say “organic canola oil” or “organic” followed by any type of vegetable oil. DON’T BUY IT. I am working on a post about the dangers of vegetable oils but for now just get it out of your diet!
BUY FULL FAT. Stay away from low fat, skim, and all those foods. They are pointless and offer negligible nutritional value. Whole milk (if you are going to drink milk), full fat sour cream, full fat cheese, whole milk yogurt(without added sugar) and so on, if you are keeping dairy in your diet. The low fat myth is just that, a myth. More on that later.
That is a quick run down on what I look for when I grocery shop! I hope this isn’t overwhelming but instead gives you a good starting place. Shopping for healthy nutritious whole foods can actually be fun and foster the love of food and cooking!!
Eat well, Kate