Grocery stores offer a wide range of healthy food options, but they can also be places of temptation. Fortunately, a bit of planning and tactical thinking can make healthier grocery shopping much easier.
First, it helps to do some preparation before you head out to the store. These tips can help you focus your shopping trip on healthy options.
1. Create a budget
Start by making a budget. Add up how much you spend on food—including fast food and snacks—and consider how you could redirect that spending toward healthier options. Then set a budget for your grocery trip.
2. Plan meals
Planning meals in advance is another great way to focus on healthier grocery shopping. Look for healthy recipes you want to try and focus on making those happen.
3. Make a grocery list
With some meal planning done, look at each recipe and figure out what ingredients you need. Then make a list to take to the store.
Practical Preparation Tips
Planning your grocery trip is important, but sometimes, you need some practical help as well. These tips can make healthy grocery shopping easier.
4. Get a sitter
Often, kids will ask—or beg—for snacks or sweets they see at the store, so consider leaving them with a spouse, relative, friend, or sitter as you shop.
5. Choose local
Local farmers’ markets and small grocers will usually put less effort into enticing you to buy sweets and snacks so doing your shopping at local stores can support your overall goal of healthful eating.
6. Eat before heading out
Before you head out, make sure you’re fed. Shopping on an empty stomach often leads to impulsive—and therefore unhealthy—buying choices.
Healthy Tips for the Grocery Store
Even with some preparation, it still helps to have some tactics to follow once you get to the store. These tips can help.
7. Beeline to the produce section
First, head straight to the produce section. Doing so gets you past the (often unhealthy) promotional items at the front of the store while getting your shopping trip started on the right foot.
8. Stick to your list
Have your list in your hand when you walk into the store and consult it as you go. Then as you purchase each item, check it off. You may find there’s something satisfying about doing so.
9. Time yourself
It also helps to time yourself. See if you can complete your list in as little time as possible. As you try to keep your shopping trips quick and snappy, you’ll avoid lingering over tempting purchases.
10. Choose low fat options
Finally, if you have low fat or low sodium options for items on your list, purchase those. Often, they won’t even have much—if any—negative impact on your budget.
Make Healthier Grocery Shopping Easy
Making healthy choices at the grocery store doesn’t have to be difficult. By using at least some of these tips, you’ll make it much easier to shop healthy.