How to Navigate the Grocery Store Maze
The grocery store can be both an overwhelming and a wonderful place. People bustling up and down aisles, options upon options from floor to ceiling, and colorful packaging touting too-good-to-be-true health benefits. Hint: If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably isn’t true. Let me tell you, I still get overwhelmed at the grocery store. If at all possible, I prefer to go during the week in the late morning when the aisles are clear and I don’t feel rushed while picking out the perfect bunch of slightly green bananas. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Let me share some tips with you to make the most of your trip, without getting overwhelmed with options and impulse-buys (we’ve all been there).
First of all, shop the perimeter of the store. With all those tasty looking treats and alluring marketing tricks, it’s easy to pull a few extra items off the shelf. The perimeter of the store is typically stocked with all the “whole foods,” such as produce, meat, dairy, and, sometimes, grains. This is a good way to avoid temptation and keep processed foods to a minimum. If you need to stray from the perimeter…
Stick to your list! This brings me to my second point: make a list and stick to it!! Write a shopping list when you are at home (preferably for a week of planned meals - or at least a few days). When you get to the store, get out that list! And maybe even a pen. Check off each item as you pick it up and keep your eyes down as you move on to the next.
The third most important tip: don’t shop when hungry! I know this one well. If I go to the store hungry, I will most definitely always buy more than I intended and usually those extras are sugary or salty snacks rather than healthy ones. If you feel hungry before your shopping excursion, I suggest a quick snack before heading out. A combination of protein and carbohydrates will help keep you full and energized until your next meal. Some of my favorites are baby carrots dipped in hummus, whole-wheat toast with almond butter, or plain Greek yogurt with fresh fruit.
I hope these tips help lead you to stress free and healthful shopping!