It’s no secret that eating healthy is important for our overall health and well-being – or that grocery shopping can be a busy mom’s worst nightmare. With our busy lives, it can be hard to know where to start when it comes to grocery shopping. That’s why I’ve put together a list of the 5 key rules to healthy grocery shopping, so you can make sure you and your family are getting the nutrients you need and it’s as close to “enjoyable” as we can get it – no promises but at least less stressful, how’s that?
1. Make a list before you go.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important to make a list of what you need before you even set foot in the grocery store. That way, you’re less likely to be tempted by unhealthy snacks or meals that are high in calories and low in nutrients. If you’re not sure what to make for dinner, try looking up some healthy recipes online or in cookbooks. Be sure to download a copy of my Simply Nourished E-Book where I have a list of over 30 healthy meals, a blank meal planning sheet, and a grocery list template. Before you head to the store, make a list of all the ingredients you’ll need to make those recipes (it’s helpful to know what you already have on hand and try to plan around what you have that needs to get eaten, too).
2. Stick to the perimeter of the store.
The perimeter of the store is typically where you’ll find fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy protein sources, and dairy products. These are all essential components of a healthy diet. Avoid the inner aisles as much as possible, where you’ll find processed foods that are high in sugar and unhealthy fats.
3. Read nutrition labels carefully.
Just because a food item is marketed as “healthy” doesn’t necessarily mean it is. Watch for catchy marketing terms such as, “All Natural,” “Gluten Free,” “No Sugar/Sugar-Free,” etc. Be sure to check the nutrition label for things like natural flavors, fat content, type of fat, food dyes, sodium levels, and sugar content. You should also look at the ingredient list to see how many processed ingredients are used. The fewer ingredients and the more recognizable they are, the better. Generally speaking, 5 ingredients or less and only recognizable ingredient foods are probably best.
4. Don’t grocery shop when you’re hungry.
This is a recipe for disaster! If you go grocery shopping when you’re already feeling hungry, you’re much more likely to make unhealthy choices and impulse buys. Eat something healthy beforehand so you’re not tempted by unhealthy snacks while you’re shopping.
5 . Plan your meals ahead of time.
Planning ahead will save you time and money in the long run. Decide what recipes you want to make for the week and then make a list of all the ingredients you’ll need. This will help you stick to your healthy eating goals and avoid last-minute trips to the drive-thru or pizza place because you don’t have anything else to eat.
Have your groceries delivered or order online and pick them up. I started doing this when my now adult daughter was a baby. Back then there was a fee and a tip but I still usually spent less on average because I wasn’t tempted to buy anything that wasn’t on my list. Having your groceries delivered or picking them up forces you to stick to your list – this saves you money and from any temptation to buy something you really don’t want to buy.
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming if you plan ahead and know what to look for at the grocery store. By following these key rules, you can be confident that you and your family are getting the nutrients you need for good health.
Be sure to download my free eBook Simply Nourished to help you to start your journey to health today!