Grocery shopping – something we all do, but do very differently. While there is no particularly “wrong” way to grocery shop, GoFor20 can help you make your trip to the store faster, more cost efficient, and healthier with just 10 steps!
1. Prepare a list – A list makes your shopping trip more efficient. And when you plan your meals ahead, you’ll have the ingredients you need to prepare healthy meals quickly. It is also very important to mesh your grocery list with your family calendar to know which nights you will eat out. This not only prevents waste, but it saves you money.
2. Be realistic – While shopping for meals is pivotal, adding healthy snacks is a must. Sometimes lunch doesn’t fill us up as much as we had hoped, or maybe we have to stay at work late one day. To avoid running to the nearest coffee shop or gas station to assuage our grumbling stomachs, purchase some healthy snacks!
3. Consider the cost – While going for the cheaper option makes sense most of the time, take into account your habits. For example, you might choose the big tub of hummus because it is more expensive than the individual hummus cups. However, if you never have time to scoop out a portion to pack in your lunch and the hummus just sits there until its expiration, maybe the individual cups are more cost effective in the end – you actually eat it, and the simplicity encourages you to pack healthy lunches (whatever works, am I right?).
4. Can the cans – Purchase more fresh/frozen fruits and vegetables as opposed to canned because they not only taste better, but they are also far more nutritious. If some canned items are a must, be sure to get the cans that are only packed in water with no added sugar or salt, and rinse them with water before consuming.
5. Consider what keeps – many fresh items have different expiration dates. For example, a tub of spring mix has an unusually short life in the fridge, so eat them early in the week and have a head of lettuce waiting for a later date. Fresh foods wilt and rot fast, this is why it is so important to grocery shop once a week, plus it helps you maintain clear health goals and minimize cost.
6. Read the label – Food labels help you learn about important nutrition information about a product before you buy it. Most of all, labels can help you compare similar products in order to choose the best brand for you and your family.
7. Focus on the perimeter – In most grocery store set ups, the fresh produce, meat and seafood sections, as well as the dairy are located on the perimeter of the store. These fresh, real foods are better than the ready-to-eat foods not only because it helps you cut out excess salt and sugar, but more importantly because you control the ingredients that you eat.
8. Convenience is key – While buying the celery and carrots is a great step, it is only half of the effort. Ensure your healthy habits by making the snacks accessible and convenient. As soon as you get home from the store, wash and cut them up to make it easier later on.
9. Say no to pre and pro – Shy away from prepackaged and processed foods. They are often low in fiber (the good stuff), and high in fat, calories, and sodium (the bad). Along with this category comes sweets. Avoid bringing sugary treats into your house because let’s be honest, who turns down a doughnut?!
10. The golden rule – The GoFor20.com rule that sometimes you can’t help breaking: never go grocery shopping hungry! You will buy more than you need, and usually gravitate toward unhealthy snacks or whatever you are craving at that moment (and no body craves celery).
Paul Kiritsis, MD