Seven Better Ways To Grocery Shop
Endurance athletes and those trying to eat a healthier diet can sometimes run into trouble when they hit the grocery store. It’s a place where we can be lured into non-ideal food buying, or sometimes we don’t know what to get. Use the tips below and shopping will not be a chore! Some of these tips you may have heard before, but that’s because they work.
1) Have your meals planned. Look at your schedule for the week and even your training schedule, and then plan your meals for the week around that. You may have to make some changes as things come up, but this way you know what you will need from the store. Have a list of ‘go to’ healthy snacks (for example, fruit & nuts, or fruit and greek yogurt) so that you have what you need on hand and aren’t tempted to reach for something non-ideal.
2) Shop with a list. I use Google Docs to maintain a shopping list of all my staples, separated into the areas of the store. I then add additional items I might need for specific recipes. If it’s a common item I don’t need this week, I just use strikethrough formatting so that it’s still on the list for when I do need it. Even better, my list is available to me on my phone while I am shopping, so I don’t even need to print it out.
3) Shop the perimeter. The “good stuff” is often on the edges of the store, the processed foods on the inner aisles. Personally, I start in the produce section, then hit the proteins, bulk foods, dairy, and then the freezer section.
4) Don’t wander the aisles. Everything you need won’t be in the perimeter. You will need to walk down a few of the aisles. But know which aisles they are and go straight to what you need, rather than going up and down the aisles to have your attention grabbed by something you don’t need.
5) Check the labels. Yes, I’m sure you have heard this before. But some things that appear to be healthy, might not be. One thing to really check is sugar content. Some products can be deceiving!
Snack Tip: One delicious snack I like is plain yogurt mixed with wheat germ and topped with nuts (or peanut butter!) and fruit. Dates really add extra sweetness, but microwaved frozen mixed berries for a warm topping is great, too!
6) Buy frozen fruits and veggies. If you find yourself short on time and never seem to get enough fruits or veggies in your meals, frozen is a great option. I buy big bags of frozen blueberries to put into my smoothies. Frozen vegetables are great for a quick side or to scramble in some eggs.
7) Buy from the bulk food section. If your store has a bulk food section, check it out. My local grocery store has a small section that I can get fresh ground peanut and almond butter, oats, quinoa, and other grains, as well as trail mixes. It also has a spice section so if I am cooking with a new spice, but don’t need a lot, I can get a small amount for less. And you aren’t paying for extra packaging if you shop bulk.
The 8th Tip
There is really an 8th tip for better grocery shopping. This one is definitely not new, but I will share it because it really is important. NEVER SHOP HUNGRY! Have a snack that will stabilize your blood sugar BEFORE you go to the store (think a snack higher in protein & healthy fats over carbs). Have your list ready, and happy shopping!
If you have your own tips and tricks that help you stick to healthier shopping, please share them in the comments below.