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!