I’m one of the few people I know that loves grocery shopping. I could spend hours wandering the aisles of Whole Foods reading labels, Instagramming brands for recipe inspiration, and taste-testing samples. Frankly, I’m my Amazon Prime loving husband’s worst nightmare 🙂 I love hand selecting the perfectly ripe bananas (I’m very particular), fresh veggies, fruits, and ogling at the baked goods. I seriously just want a bite… 😉
One of the biggest things that leads to grocery store success for me is making a list, and avoiding the store when hangry. I have a bad habit of coming home with goodies not on my list, or items that seemed amazing with a gurgling stomach, like cake.
A healthy grocery list in my house can be tricky. My husband travels a lot for work and I find myself buying different quantities all the time. There’s nothing I hate more than watching bananas go bad (seriously). In an effort to avoid food waste and maximize the ingredients in the house, I’ve created a few fit foodie shopping guidelines for myself. I’d love to share these handy tips with you to ensure your next trip to the grocery store is as healthy as possible.
Plan out your meals ahead of time
Before you even step foot inside the store, it’s helpful to have an idea of what you want to prepare during the week. Plans change all the time, but I like to select 3-4 recipes to experiment with. These can be completely new or your favorite standby creations. For example, after our adventure to London, I became obsessed with savory bowls thanks to 26 grains. It’s become my morning go-to.
Meal Prep is worth the time
Preparing your meals or ingredients in advance saves time and money. I find that if I’ve pre-made proteins, grains, and veggies I’m more likely to use them. When hunger strikes I don’t want to wait the twenty-five minutes for roasted veggies or chicken breasts. I just open the fridge and voile! Food prep also doesn’t mean you have to cook the whole dish ahead of time; even part one of the meal will allow you to get ahead.
Meal Prep Foods
Below are foods my husband and I meal prep at the beginning of the week:
- Proteins: Chicken Breasts, Ground Turkey, Salmon. Other delicious options include shrimp, tilapia, lentils, and lean cut beef.
- Grains/Carbs: Quinoa, Brown Rice, Other options include farro, pasta (without sauce), oats, jasmine rice, sweet potatoes (these are all great to buy in bulk).
- Veggies: Roasted cauliflower/broccoli, cauliflower rice, asparagus, butternut squash, carrots, Zucchini (zoodles).
- Other yummy snack ideas: hard-boiled eggs, trail mix, and home made granola bars.
The key is to focus on simple foods and meals, and build from there. Chicken can be cooked in a variety of ways and added to almost every meal. Chicken plus a few veggies and you have yourself a healthy dinner.
Customize Your List
Our list changes regularly depending on the seasonality of ingredients, new recipe finds, and quite honestly—cravings. Some weeks I love zoodling everything, and other weeks I’m all about burrito bowls. The trick is to stick to what you need instead of getting distracted by tempting add-ons, like that cake I mentioned. On your next trip, stay on the periphery of the store and clear of sections with tempting food items. Out of sight, out of mind.
What’s on my list? I love this list from IdealFit, which captures some of my favorite foods too!
Step Outside Your Comfort Zone
It’s easy to stick to stick to the same meal week after week. But, I encourage you to try something new. Case in point: my love for farro. The nutritious grain is loaded with fiber, protein, and some essential minerals and vitamins. After devouring a delicious farro and butternut squash fall salad last year, I snatched up a bag at Trader Joe’s, and it’s become one of my favorite grains.
I visit two to three grocery stores on a regular basis, in addition to the local farmers market. I find that each store specializes in different things. One shop is great for local produce and bulk grains, while the other offers a better deli counter and meat selection. The farmers market is fun and I usually stock up on our favorite cheeses, breads, and hummus. If you’re lucky, you may discover something healthy and delicious at a second store you would’ve never found before.
Grocery shopping doesn’t need to be stressful. In fact, it’s pretty fun. The best thing you can do is plan ahead, stick to your list, and avoid temptation. Easier said than done, especially around Halloween. You’ll wind up saving money, time, and a few extra holiday pounds.
What are your some of your healthy shopping tips?