You plan to leave the grocery store with a cart full of veggies, not junk. But somehow that bag of chips, tub of ice cream, and bogo candy bars snuck in there. I’ve been there done that! It’s definitely tricky balancing a healthy cart while keeping within your spending budget. Doesn’t it always seem like all the things on sale are junk? It takes some time but with a little practice, you’ll be a healthy shopping expert. Here are a few tricks I’ve picked up along the way to help you get there.
1. Make your list ahead of time
I start putting together my grocery list almost a week ahead of time. I start by adding things that pop into my head like toothpaste. That way I don’t forget to add it on later. Then I get creative. I have this healthy cook book that I love picking out new recipes from. I add any ingredients that I don’t already have to my list. Then when the circulars come out I add anything else I need to get me through the week that’s on sale. This is mostly veggies, fruit, and yogurt. The final phase of my list building is to take off anything I don’t absolutely need. Sometimes I get a little excited and add extras to the list. 🙂
Tip: Get a handy shopping list app. I use “Out of Milk”.
2. Stick to the outside isles
These would be produce, meat, and dairy. When I shop, I like to hit the produce section first because that’s where the bulk of my list is at. I tend to pick out fruit for my breakfast and snacks throughout the day and then veggies for dinner sides. Next is meat. I typically pick up chicken breasts, ground chicken and lean ground beef. Then I head over to dairy where I get my cheeses, yogurt, milk, and eggs. Of course there’s always something I need down the middle isles but I try to limit it.
3. Only get what’s on your list
I’m a sucker for sales so here’s where I’m always tempted to snag something unhealthy. Cookies are buy one get one so I just have to have them. And not because I’m craving them! Simply because it’s a good deal. Before I check out, I like to scan my cart to make sure no extras made their way in. It does seem pricey to shop healthier but I always feel like “real” foods fill me up better than junk anyway so there’s one way to look at it.
4. Don’t go hungry
You probably have heard this one before but when you’re super hungry, you tend to make irrational decisions when it comes to food. It’s almost like you’re drunk and couldn’t care what you put in your body at that moment. Every single thing looks so delicious. Ok, maybe I’m the only one that’s that extreme but the point is you WILL end up buying more when you go shopping hungry. I always stop at the grocery store on my way home from work on Fridays so I always make sure I eat a quick snack on the way to the store to avoid this problem.
5. Leave the husband (or kids) at home
I always end up with extra items in my cart when my husband comes along with me. Sometimes he actually picks out healthy food but the $ still adds up! (Remember that I love you Justin if you’re reading this!)
Is it weird that I like to plan my my lists, grocery shop, and meal prep? It probably is! But once you get in the habit of doing these 5 things it becomes less of a chore and who knows you may even begin to like it yourself!