Some people love it, some people hate it, but whatever your preference is, grocery shopping is a necessity to healthy eating. However, there are a few mistakes most of us make and easy fixes we can use to ensure a healthy, efficient, and affordable trip to our local grocery stores.
- Forgetting to create a shopping list: This usually occurs due to a lack of planning. Without a set grocery list in hand, it is easy to walk every aisle grabbing items you might not necessarily need. Not only does this increase the amount you’re going to spend, but it also leads to emotional buying. What we see is directly linked to our emotions. If we walk down the chips and cookies aisle, our brain releases hormones that reminds us how delicious those cookies are, regardless of their poor nutrients. Avoiding these aisles altogether will help from pointless purchases.
- Spending most of your time in the aisles: Going along with our first point about walking the aisles, we tend to avoid the outer perimeter of the grocery store. However, a healthy trip to the grocery store should mainly include walking around the aisles, not through them. This means that you should be shopping at the produce section, meats, seafood, bakery, deli, etc. The refrigerated foods are located around the store, whereas processed foods tend to be in the aisles. These processed foods do not need to be refrigerated because they’re full of preservatives that help the foods survive longer (a longer shelf life). While these preservatives help prevent spoiling without refrigeration, they also are harmful to our bodies when ingested. Stick to the outside of the store to find fresh, healthier foods.
- Going grocery shopping when you’re hungry: As we’ve already discussed, we are emotional creatures and tend to make our decisions based on emotion, not logic. Therefore, if we go grocery shopping while we’re hungry, there is a better chance that we skip the nutritious foods and simply buy what sounds good at that moment. Buying the ingredients to make a large, healthy salad at home is not going to satisfy your immediate cravings. The already prepared chicken fingers and French fries in the deli will. Don’t fall for this trap!
Make sure you avoid heading to the grocery store when you’re hungry and stick to your shopping list to ensure buying healthy, affordable groceries instead of quick, impulse buys. In terms of where you shop within the store, try using the 80/20 rule. 80% of you shopping should be along the outside of the store, while only 20% occurs within the aisles. Avoid those processed foods and always try to buy local, organic foods when available!