Grocery shop your way to success!

by Jennifer on July 18, 2010

Until recently, grocery shopping was usually where I went wrong. With so many unhealthy choices, I would walk around the store lost and hungry throwing just about anything with a health claim into my cart, only to leave with piles of produce (that would just go bad because I had no idea as to what to do with them), and loads of “healthy” processed foods. Lately my grocery bill has dropped significantly, along with the amount of food I waste and the amount of junk food I am bringing home. How? Just by following some of these tips!

Shop the perimeter. I know you have probably heard this one a lot, but it really does help! My biggest challenge was this was that I had to grab some items from the middle isles. What I do is shop the perimeter first, and then go back and get anything I need in the middle. The reason this works? By the time I get around the whole store, I already have a full cart so I am less likely to put random things in it. For those of you in a huge grocery store, do you really want to walk all the way back to the beginning to grab that calorie, sugar, and sodium packed juice? I don’t think so.

Don’t go hungry. I used to go to the store right after work, which is usually when I am craving food the most. Eating a protein or fiber filled snack before shopping helps eliminate the hunger which will help prevent you from throwing junk in your cart!

Create your meal plans in advance. Like I said earlier, I was wasting a lot of food because I would stock up on produce and then have nothing to do with it. Now, I try to collect recipes during the week and plan my meals for the week. While I still throw a few extras in there (come on, what doesn’t asparagus go well with?!), I am finding that I am eating better and wasting a lot less.

Read labels. Another obvious one, but if you can’t pronounce it or don’t know what it is, don’t get it.

Avoid health claims. Low fat, less fat, fat-free, healthy, etc. That means it has been processed more. I actually stopped buying reduced fat milk and went back to whole milk to avoid any extra processing than needed. Maybe there are more calories in it, but I feel better knowing exactly what it is, where it came from, and how it got there.

It may not seem like a lot of changes, but give it a try and you should notice a difference in your bills, your waste, and the amount of junk food you bring home!

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

1 CMcKane July 18, 2010 at 10:46 am

I don’t like shopping much but put me in the supermarket (a quiet one) and I’m in hog heaven. I love going through the produce section and smelling the cilantro.

I follow all five of your excellent points and trying to eat non-processed foods really cuts down on the interior aisles and keeps me away from temptations.

Plus, I get a lot of brand names which I know doesn’t work for everyone but keeps my wallet happy too,


2 Erica @ Fashion meets Food July 18, 2010 at 10:50 am

Heyy girly! Just came across your blog and I absolutely love it! You now have a new follower! Fabulous tips! I am stuck at my parents junk food house for three weeks so I love your tips!



3 Laury @thefitnessdish
Twitter: lauryannraik
July 18, 2010 at 11:15 am

Amazing tips, as always ;-) My problem now, is that the largest Whole Foods on the East coast opened about 2 minuted from my house…and I have been more broke than EVER! I don’t waste food, lots of produce, its just so pricey, and I want to try everything there! I need to learn how to just buy whats on my list, and get most of the stuff from the farmers market. It’s so tough sometimes!!

I emailed you about the reply to each, not sure if it will be much help though :/


4 Danielle (Runs on Green) July 18, 2010 at 11:28 am

These are great tips! Especially the health claims one- people get sooooo sucked into marketing. Be confident in what you know & don’t buy into what’s plastered on a box! (Except the ingredient label :) )


5 Crystal July 18, 2010 at 12:25 pm

Probably the hardest thing for me in the list is to plan meals in advance. I am a horrible planner and my mind is constantly changing about what I want to eat. I am definitely going to use the tip of shopping the perimeter first, I never thought of that!


6 Alycia @ Fit n Fresh July 18, 2010 at 3:23 pm

I follow all of these and my grocery bills are way low and my nutrition level is way high! Sometimes, though, I do randomly buy veggies or fruit to be sure that I have something to get creative with (:

Awesome post!


7 Keri July 18, 2010 at 4:06 pm

Ughh I let food go bad far too often…I hate when that happens. Now depending on the vegetable, I buy some frozen…not as good as fresh but it beats throwing them out! Great tips!


8 Katie @ Health for the Whole Self July 18, 2010 at 4:09 pm

Great tips! I have definitely made the mistake of going grocery shopping on an empty stomach…let’s just say the results were not good – not for my waistline or for my budget!


9 Amy July 18, 2010 at 5:05 pm

I’m addicted to wholefoods. I’m there like every other day. They have so many awesome new things to try.


10 ACupOfJenn - From Tx to Ak July 18, 2010 at 6:02 pm

Thanks for the tips! I’m a new follower


11 highonhealthy July 18, 2010 at 9:01 pm

I’m really good at shopping the perimeter except for when I need to venture out of the safety zone to find baking/cooking things. Even when I do that I’m usually pretty safe because I’ve reached a point where the junk no longer appeals to me.

It’s crazy that people think eating healthy means spending a lot of money.. because as most of us can clarify, it definitely doesn’t!


12 Jessica July 18, 2010 at 10:02 pm

Great tips. I totally agree with them. I can NEVER go to the grocery store hungry. I always leave with too much stuff and it’s all junk. Shoot.


13 katie July 18, 2010 at 10:44 pm

AMEN to all of these! IF i go hungry- it is BAD BAD NEWS! haha :)


14 Angela (the diet book junkie) July 18, 2010 at 10:46 pm

i recently read the reason why they put all the staples (milk, bread, meat) around the perimeter and the back of the store is so you have to walk through all the crap, and therefore be tempted to buy. (those tricky bastards.)


15 Alex @ IEatAsphalt July 18, 2010 at 11:25 pm

I am really bad about planning out my meals. Once I start school I think I’m going to try to cook a few big meals and have left overs throughout the week. I got into a routine of just stopping at Whole Foods on my walk home and would buy whatever looked good. Definitely not budget friendly.


16 Lisa @ Endeavorous July 18, 2010 at 11:38 pm

Good tips! I find myself naturally shopping the perimeter now because I love whole, nutritious foods that don’t come in boxes. When I stop to think about it, I’m amazed at just how much of the grocery store is processed, packaged “foods” (that I used to eat all the time) that trick you into thinking they could be healthy!

Re: milk, did you see this recent study finding that whole milk from grass fed cows has such healthy fats that it can be very good for you?


17 Kristen
Twitter: iamyouremotion
July 19, 2010 at 12:04 am

These are all great tips! I will try to keep these all in mind next time :P


18 Lindsay {Designer Wife}
Twitter: DesignerWife
July 19, 2010 at 12:29 am

Hi Jennifer!!

OK, first, I’m LOVING your blog! Came here from the SITS 31dbbb post and am so excited to find another blogger in my niche.

Second, this particular post is fabulous!

Third, I’ll be back regularly. So happy to “meet” you! :)



19 Cheryl D.
Twitter: littlebitquirk
July 19, 2010 at 1:05 am

Popping by as part of the 31DBBB blog hop! You listed a lot of sound advice. I’ve been hearing lately that it’s better to have whole milk products because it hasn’t been processed as much! Who knew?


20 Fit Chick in the City
Twitter: FitChickNYC
July 19, 2010 at 7:35 am

I too found that creating my meals in advance is the only way I am successful at the grocery store!


21 Samantha @ Health, Happiness & Skinny Jeans July 19, 2010 at 9:38 am

I have the bad habit of going to the grocery store when I have food at home because I crave something in particular. This leads me to spend more money and throw a lot of food out. Now I try to implement a “eat what you have” policy and I find taht I am trhowing out way less stuff.


22 Julie @ Pickley Pear
Twitter: PickleyPear
July 19, 2010 at 11:50 am

Great post! The grocery store and I have a love-hate relationship, if you know what I mean! I always go hungry, I just can’t help it. I buy too many veggies that one person cannot eat in one week, but I have high hopes at the store. I’m working on my grocery store (and Costco) addiction!


23 ZippyChix4
Twitter: ZippyChix
July 19, 2010 at 7:30 pm

Love these tips! I am going to make a concerted effort to shop the perimeter of the store first next time I go. I have seen this tip before, but never actually done it. It will also help with putting some extra steps on my bodybugg. Not shopping on an empty stomach is also key for me. Thanks!


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