Trying to eat better and lose weight? A great place to start is your local grocery store. What you buy and how you shop are the first steps to healthy eating habits at home. Here are our best tips for grocery shopping so that you have a refrigerator and panty stocked with foods that will help you achieve your weight loss goals.
Create a Plan
Before you even get in your car to go to the grocery store, take some time to put together a meal plan for the week. Think about how many meals you will be preparing, how many meals you will eat out and how many people you will be shopping for. This will help you fill your cart with only the items you need for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.
Visualize what your plate will look like for each meal. Try to incorporate a source of lean protein, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fat.
Stick to Your List
Make a deal with yourself that you will only purchase the items on your shopping list. Be mindful of any impulses you have to buy unplanned items or foods that cause unhealthy eating behaviors (trigger foods).
Some of us can’t pass up a good bargain. Don’t let bargains or gimmicks get you off track. Stick to your list!
A lot of local grocery stores have services where you can order your food online that can either be delivered to your home or picked up at the store. If you find you are consistently buying items that aren’t on your list when you go into the store, this might be a great option for you.
Create a “Favorites” List
If there are healthy staples you purchase every week, create a “favorites” grocery list. This can save a lot of time each week when you are creating your grocery list.
Don’t Shop Hungry
I’m sure you’ve heard that you shouldn’t shop when you are hungry because it can affect purchasing decisions. Being hungry often leads to mindlessly putting snack foods and candy into the cart. The best option is to plan your shopping trip immediately following a meal.
If you have to go to the store when you are hungry, try chewing gum. It’s been shown that chewing gum can stop cravings.
When buying pre-packaged food, examine the labels closely. Limit items that have trans fat, artificial ingredients and chemicals. It’s also a good idea to avoid items that have a lot of added sugar.
Shop the Perimeter
The next time you are in the grocery store, pay attention to the store layout. Fruits, vegetables, lean meats and dairy are all located in the perimeter of the store.
Have a plan before you venture into the center aisles. This is usually a haven of processed food, but it’s also where you’ll find whole grains, condiments, bottled water and home essentials. Strategically planning what aisles you need to visit and knowing exactly what you are going to put in your cart will save time and deter impulse buying. Stay away from the junk food and candy aisles.
Select In Season Fruits and Vegetables
As seasons change, you’ll notice different fruits and vegetables available in the produce section. As summer arrives, we see colorful berries and fall brings an assortment of squash. Don’t be afraid to try new things and plan your menu around fruits and vegetables that are locally grown and in season.
Want more tips or advice on nutrition or interested in getting more advice about what foods you should buy at the grocery store? Contact FitFlex Nutrition to learn about our Nutrition Coaching services.