- Your Cart Should Contain Mostly Fresh, Organic Vegetables
If you are nearing the end of your shopping trip and your cart isn’t comprised of more than half vegetables, then ya’ need to go back to the produce aisle and get some more. Eating a diet filled with plants, specifically the green kind, is crucial for optimal health. Your entire body and mind will thank you for eating more of these superfoods. Once you get in the habit of eating vegetables with your meals, you will quickly find this healthy habit is not only easy, but enjoyable!
Buy local and organic with your veggies and fruit as much as possible, even if this means taking an extra trip to the farmer’s market! If you can’t buy all your product organic at this time, at least commit to avoiding the “dirty dozen.” This article shares the 12 items you truly need to buy organic for the safety of your health.
Pro-tip: On the day of your shopping trip (or within one day after!), prep your veggies as much as possible (e.g., wash, cut, etc.). The readier they are to eat or throw in the oven/pan/grill, the more likely you will eat them and not cave for something “easy,” like a bag of potato chips when you need a snack or a side. I find roasting vegetables on a Sunday keep well up and until Wednesday. They are so easy to reheat in a pan and even taste great cold on salads.
Veggies I Never Leave the Store Without: Brussel Sprouts (hands down my favorite roasted!); Broccoli; Cauliflower; Sweet Potatoes; Greens like spinach, arugula, butter lettuce or kale; Fresh Herbs like basil, parsley, dill, or cilantro.
- Try New Things – But Not Too Much at Once!
Are you using the same grocery list week-to-week? I love routine just as much as the next person, but somethings in life you really should mix up! There is value in mixing up what you eat from both a nutritional standpoint, along with an emotional standpoint. First, eating a variety of foods ensures you’re not missing out on vital nutrients, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants. For example, if you love kale salads (this girl right here!), try swapping the kale for arugula or butter lettuce. Your cucumbers for edamame and your carrots for radishes. Doing so your not only giving your body other awesome nutritional benefits that may be lacking more so in one food over the other, but your giving your taste buds a change and you’ll continue to make healthy choices, while keeping things interesting! Plus, this gives you a chance to welcome all-start items into your menu, that you may otherwise not attempt to include. Having go-to items is great because you know you’ll make healthy choices that you enjoy, but you will do both your body and mind a favor by conciously incorporating new healthy foods into your repertoire. My only advice would be that you don’t mix too many things up at once in any given week because you may feel overwhelmed and fall off track because you aren’t used to what you are making. Stick to adding in one to three new items and making one to two new meals.
- Read ALL Labels
If you are buying anything in a package, please read the label. I myself who have a passion for eating whole, clean foods have fallen prey to marketing. I buy something that looks so clean and it even says, “all natural,” on the packing only to get home to find out it is chocked full of things I would not normally eat! This happens often with some surprising items like spaghetti sauce, non-dairy milks, breads, and so on. Pro Tip: The higher an ingredient appears on the list, the more the product contains that ingredient according to its weight. This means to disregard what the marketing label says on the front such as, “whole grains,” when in reality high fructose corn syrup is the first ingredient listed. My rule: The fewer the ingredients the better, and I must be able to pronounce and know what each ingredient is.
- Skip the Samples
I know this will come off as terrible to some of my fellow Costco shoppers, but truly, unless they are sampling carrots, skip the junk-laden samples that grocery stores are handing out. This is not good for your trip or your waistline. If you wouldn’t buy it, why sample it? These sugary handouts will increase your appetite and likely get you to buy more, whether it is the product you sampled or some other “treat.” It goes without saying that if you don’t have it in your house, you won’t eat it! Simple as that.
- Organize Your Shopping List by Department
Okay, so making a grocery list is a no-brainer because it keeps you on track and assists in preventing you from throwing items in your cart that you weren’t planning on buying (like cookies and chips). However, I’ve found what keeps me even more efficient and on track (albeit, I love grocery shopping, but that’s a story for another day!) is to categorize my list by items in each dept. This way I never miss an item and have to go back, and additionally, it keeps me buzzing through the store focused and efficient. For example, I know the layout of my grocery store well, so I list the items of produce I’ll be purchasing in the order in which they appear as I enter the store. At my store, the meat department follows our produce area so I have my proteins listed beneath that. And so on. It works really well for me and I encourage you to take a little extra time to organize your list this way too!
- Clip Coupons, but ONLY for Items You Were Planning to Buy
I love savings (who doesn’t!), but I only use coupons for items I was already planning on purchasing. Don’t be tricked into buying an item – especially and unhealthy one – just because it is on sale. If it wasn’t on your original list, you aren’t saving any money doing so. Stay strong and only clip the ones you need at that time.
- Get Cloth Grocery Bags!
You are not only being friendly to the environment, but some stores give you a small discount for bringing your own bags!
I hope this list is helpful for you and provides you some extra inspiration to shop and eat as healthy as possible this week! Any other tips and tricks you want to share? I’d love to hear them below!