Grocery shopping can be a mundane, routine, expensive and stressful experience if you allow it to be. However, it does not and should not be such a negative experience. My first supermarket experience by myself was when I went to college. I found myself calling my mom several times to ask questions and most of the time I spent more money than I needed too. Sure I had been to the supermarket with my mom hundreds of times before but like most children I had never been encouraged to be a part of the grocery shopping experience. Most children are told “not to touch that” or to “sit in the cart and behave while mommy shops.” It is important that parents encourage children to be a part of the grocery shopping and cooking experience so that they feel a sense of responsibility for the food that they consume. It is quite surprising how confused people look when they walk into a supermarket that is not a Ralph’s, Vons or Alberstons. Here are my insider grocery store tips to help both those who are experienced and new grocery shoppers. Hopefully I can help put some pep in your step 🙂
Remember that Eating well starts with good ingredients!
Recommended grocery stores:
Sprouts (formerly known as Henry’s)- great produce
Trader Joes- average produce, resourceful/ relatively cheap staple goods
Whole Foods- more expensive yet majority organic
Farmers Markets!- best place to get to know more about where your food comes from. Also a more exciting shopping experience.
Local health food store: in my area its Jimbo’s.. Naturally!
Tips for grocery shopping
- Make a grocery list before you go to the store
- Don’t shop when you are hungry
- Shop around the edges of the supermarket first then head to the isles if you still need a few products.
- Fresh-frozen-canned-packaged (listed from most preferable to least)
- Read food labels for ingredient content and nutritional value (who cares if its ONLY 100 calories? If the first ingredient is sugar or corn syrup then its not a favorable item)
- Avoid foods that have more than 5 ingredients, ingredients that you can’t pronounce and artificial ingredients.
- Buy seasonally! Fruits and vegetables that are in season taste better and are fresher. This will also help you break the routine of buying the same products all the time. Spice up your life!
- Try a new fruit or vegetable each week
- Buy a reusable water bottle to save costs on plastic water bottles each week (not to mention you will be saving the planet as well!
10. Use reusable grocery bags (only 99 cents)
Produce: fruits & vegetables (Vitamins & Minerals)
Spend most of your time in the produce section. Buy a variety of colors when it comes to vegetables. Check fruit for bruises or mold. Remember that fruits are high in sugar so make sure you are shopping for vegetables as well.
Grains: bread, cereal (Fiber)
Always go for whole-grains pasta and bread. Choose brown or wild rice. Shop for cereals that have less than 4g of sugar per serving.
Dairy: Milk, cheese, yogurt (Calcium)
Dairy products have a high fat content, however most of the fat is considered “healthy fat.” Shop for dairy products that are low-fat or 2%. The fat content is important but whole milk has too much fat per serving. Almond milk is a GREAT alternative for milk if you are lactose intolerant or if you want to switch it up.
Meat, fish poultry: (Protein/ Omega 3)
Buy meats that are GMO, hormone and antibiotic FREE. Organic meats are worth the price that you pay because the animals are treated with respect and they are much healthier than non-organic meats. Fish is great because there is a wide variety of options and it is easy to cook. It also has great Omega-3 fatty acids. Choose lean cuts of meat and skinless chicken.
Frozen vegetables have the same amount of nutrients as fresh vegetables. Frozen foods have a much higher sodium content than fresh foods, therefore they should be eaten in moderation.
Canned and Dried Foods
Choose canned fruits and vegetables that don’t have any sugar or juice added to them. Canned tuna is healthiest in water. Peanut butter and almond butter are healthy sources of fat in moderation.