I love to shop, whether its for clothes, household items, or groceries, its probably one of the highlights of my week. But its very important to make sure you are prepared when going to purchase food. We primarily shop at stores like Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and Sprouts, but will occasionally run to the larger chains (i.e. Ralphs, Alberstons, Vons) when necessary. The following tips apply to all stores…
- Don’t go hungry!
- Plan ahead, plan your meals ahead of time so you know exactly what items to purchase. Planning ahead will also allow you to take advantage of weekly deals as you plan your menu vs. the minute you walk in the store. I will sometimes plan my meals around the Fish of the week or Organic meat special that one of my favorite stores is holding. (Menu planning blog coming soon…)
- Shop the perimeter of the store, this is where you will find the fresh foods like meat, fish, fruits, and vegetables. Try to avoid the center aisles where they keep the junk foods.
- Read Labels, just because you are shopping at a fancy ‘health’ stores doesn’t mean they don’t carry unhealthy items. Some of my favorite sweets and treats can be found at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s. Look for balance and know that if you are going to purchase something that isn’t the healthiest of options, to consume in moderation! And look out for ingredients you can’t pronounce.
- Check weekly Grocery Ads for promotions and cut coupons from online sources or newspaper ads.
- Try something new, check the ads for sale items which might intrigue you to experiment.
- Buy Organic if you can, especially animal products (meat, poultry, eggs, dairy…)
- Choose “real”, whole foods, such as 100% fruit juice or 100% whole-grain items. The fewer the additives the better!
- After you have completed your shopping look back over your cart and make sure you have plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meat, fish, poultry, beans, nuts, (and we try not to eat Dairy in my house so I’ll keep off the list…)
During the Week:
- Keep a list on your fridge of items you run out of…
- Plan your menu throughout the week so you aren’t bogged down to doing it all at one sitting
- Store the store ads (and coupons) in a specific place each week so you can reference them as you are planning your menu.