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How to Navigate the Grocery Store

Grocery shopping can feel like a chore, but it doesn’t have to. With a little bit of planning and strategy it can be easy, and also help you stay on track with a healthy lifestyle.

The following are some helpful grocery store strategies:

Plan ahead:

This is key to a successful and easy grocery trip. Decide before you get to the store what meals you want to make for the week (including snacks) and make a specific list of required items. This will mean that you are only looking for the things on your list and not wandering aimlessly around picking things up. It is also a great feeling at the end of a busy day to come home and know you have everything that you need on hand to make a healthy dinner.

Shop the perimeter:

This is a common tip, but still a useful one. Most of the whole foods (produce, dairy, meat, fish) are kept around the perimeter of the store. The inner aisles are generally the ones containing soda, chips, sweets, and other highly processed foods.

Get fresh:

This relates directly to the previous tip. Try to buy as many fresh fruits and vegetables as possible. Add them to all of your meals and use them as sides and snacks. Also, be realistic: if you know that you are more likely to eat veggie snacks if they are already pre-portioned, then it is worth the slight difference in cost.

Don’t shop hungry:

This just makes sense. If you go to the grocery store when you are ravenous, it is much harder to make good choices. Suddenly that economy sized bag of chips seems much more appealing than it would otherwise. Make sure that you have eaten before you go, and also that you stick to your list.

Aim for whole and unprocessed:

None of us has the time to stop and read every label in order to be sure that we are making the healthiest choices. Instead just look for foods that are either unprocessed (fruit, vegetables, whole grains, lean meat, fish, dairy), or try to get foods that are minimally processed. Even better; try not to buy anything that has more than 5 ingredients on the label.

Let the store help you:

There has been a growing trend of grocery stores helping to point out healthy foods for you. Look for signs or tags that highlight foods that are organic, heart healthy, whole grain, etc.