By Skylar Tatu, NASM CNC
Many of us have been guilty of walking into the grocery store hungry, with no plan and no idea what we should put in the cart. We rush through the aisles pressed for time, throwing in whatever looks good. The bill ends up being way more than what we wanted to spend, and the foods are not exactly what you would call ‘healthy’. Some readers may be thinking “Is there any other way to shop?”
Here are 3 simple tips to help you get through the grocery store quickly without wasting money. These tips will help anyone shopping on a budget save money on their food bill.
#1 Meal Plan
Have you ever heard the saying “prior planning prevents poor performance”? It is absolutely true when it comes to diet and nutrition.
If you don’t have a plan when you walk into the grocery store, you are more likely to waste a lot of time and money.
Before you go to the store use a meal planning template like this one from the Dr Sears Wellness Institute:
As you are making your meal plan create your shopping list. You can just have a couple of meal plans and shopping lists that you rotate and reuse month to month. (No need to do this every week for the rest of your life, unless you want to!)
#2 Stick To The Perimeter Of The Store
Think about the way your favorite grocery store is laid out. Many grocery stores keep the fruits, vegetables, meats, fish and dairy out of the middle aisles.
Realistically there are things you will need in the middle aisles. Many nutritious staples are in the middle of the store such as: beans, whole grain pastas and breads, peanut butter, oatmeal, spices, olive oil, vinegar and stevia. When you need these items just stick to your list and try not to get distracted.
#3 Avoid Items With Long Ingredients Lists.
The overall key to eating well is to eat whole foods that have been minimally processed. Whole foods are the types of foods that will give your body the fuel that it needs to function. Always be wary of items with ingredients lists that look like this:
This is a food label from a so-called “healthy” protein bar. This food label is full of questionable ingredients. Here is the most straightforward piece advice you can follow with foods like this… “When in doubt, leave it out.”
Highly processed foods are major contributors to the obesity epidemic. Not only are they leading to all kinds of disease, you might also be surprised at how much money you can save when you opt for fresh fruits and vegetables instead.
If trips to the grocery store have been stressing you out, give these tips a try. Eventually you will get used to making lists, sticking to the perimeter of the store and checking nutrition labels. These tips will become habits and you will be well on your way to healthy living!