Eating healthy is a lifestyle and may require a few attempts before it becomes a habit, but it’s definitely easier when you know how to approach it. It’s all too easy to derail from healthy eating due to the “convenience” of fast food or the temptation of packaged treats or sugary drinks. In order to dodge unhealthy bullets when doing your weekly grocery shopping, make sure you’re following these helpful tips.
Map It Out
Did you know grocery stores are set up so the “good” stuff is on the outer edges and the frozen food or snack section is usually more geared towards the middle? Next time you visit your local grocery store, notice how the fruits and veggies, eggs and yogurt all line the outside perimeter. These whole foods are what you want to incorporate into your diet over frozen dinners, cookies, and sweets.
If your plan is to eat healthy, it’s better to beeline for the outer areas first to get the healthiest, freshest foods, which don’t include preservatives, added fats, or high sodium content. You’ll know what’s going into the meals you’re making when you start with fresh ingredients. This helps you control your fat and salt intake firsthand.
By taking advantage of shopping for foods without refined sugars or preservatives, you are eating clean, a win for your digestive system and overall health.
Stick to the Plan
In addition to how you navigate the grocery store, it’s also a good idea to go prepared. By pre-planning your meals and writing out exactly the items you need, you’re less likely to unnecessarily splurge or succumb to the impulse food purchase.
Without a list, your intention may be to pick up a few salad ingredients for the week, but you may leave with frozen pizzas because they were “easier.” Exercise is only part of an effective fitness plan. Diet is equally important and requires equal attention.
Pack a Snack
Never navigate the grocery store hungry. Not only will it be easier to graze the free samples, but it will make everything seem like a good purchase whether you even like that food or not.
If you go around mealtime, a candy bar, bag of chips, or other easy-to-grab item is all too tempting while you shop. Make sure to pack a light snack in your bag. Either a handful of almonds or an apple should hold you over until you can sit down to a real meal. Also, it’s a good idea to always carry a bottle of water because hunger is often mistaken for being thirsty.
For the days you want an ice cream bar or a piece of pie, plan for those, too. Eating healthy means maintaining a good balance to keep yourself on track. While it’s not recommended to stock up on junk food on every trip, once every now and then, you may need a treat.
Meal planning sets you up for success when you want to eat healthy. Plus, it’s easier to decline temptation when you have a goal in mind. With the right game plan, convenience doesn’t have to be costly to your health or your wallet. It’s just as easy to pick up a bag of oranges as it is a bag of chips.
With a little preparation, time in the grocery store doesn’t have to be more than 15 or 20 minutes to shop for the week of meals and snacks. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be a chore. When you get the best of what’s in season, you’ll realize just how many options you have and how flavorful food can be without added fats or salt.