I have some tips and tricks that I’ve created a system with over the years to make grocery shopping simple, easy and ensures that our home is filled with healthy food options at all times. Here are a few of my tips and tricks, what I do, and what I buy!
- Plan Out Meals & Keep Grocery “Need-to-Buy’s” in the same place: I’m pretty particular when it comes to decor, so I generally don’t like anything (photos, stickers, magnets) on our refrigerator, but this one item is something I swear by, use, and have to recommend- a “Menu” and grocery list magnetic board for your refrigerator. Before I go grocery shopping, I write out brief breakfast, lunch and dinner options so that 1. when I grocery shop I know I’m not missing anything and 2. so that I don’t have to think about what I’m going to eat that day. I’ve personally found that when I can just go to the “menu” and see what I’m eating for lunch or dinner, it makes it so much easier to eat healthy since that decision has already been made, and I have all of the ingredients I need to make it. One less decision to make when I’m hungry! This “Menu” board keeps the weekly meals and what I need to buy when we run out of it all in one place, which I’ve found to be so helpful. As soon as we run out of broccoli, I write it down. When I see that I need more frozen organic berries for smoothies, I write it down. So simple when it’s right there where you do all of the food makings, and I can check it before heading to the grocery store.
- Don’t shop while hungry & go as early as possible: I know everyone’s schedules are different, so this depends on what your days look like, but I head to the grocery store or farmers market as soon as it opens on Saturday morning. There aren’t crowds of people, it’s super calm and it’s just a lot less stressful. I make sure I have breakfast before I go there so I’m not hungry and buying unnecessary food!
- Always have healthy options around the house: before you go to the grocery store, make sure you have a list of healthy options to have at home. Apples and almond butter are a great example. Almonds and cashews. Organic apple sauce. If you don’t have processed food in the house, and you make sure you have healthy options around, you have no other option but to eat healthy food!
- Use the “Wunderlist” app: I keep a list of grocery items that we buy in a list on this app, and before grocery shopping, I “star” all of the groceries that are listed on the magnetic board on the refrigerator, then I go through the list of food that’s already in the list and star anything else that we need that I may have forgotten about. The reason I do this is that sometimes I forget to write things down, and if there’s just always a list there, it’s easier for me to star it and make sure I get it at the store instead of racking my brain trying to remember all of the food we need before leaving. When I’m at the store, I simply go to the app, click on the “starred” tab, and as I put items in my cart I “un-star” them and they stay in my groceries list for next time.
- While at the grocery store- check in before checking out: what I mean by this is before you get to the checkout line, have a look inside your cart to see how many processed foods you have in there. Your cart should be full of vegetables, fruits, healthy fats like avocado, protein such as chickpeas and salmon, and some healthy starches like sweet potato. Anything that is processed should be eliminated as much as possible. If you see something you know isn’t the best for you, put it back! You’ll feel SO much better when you get home to put your groceries away, and the temptation won’t be in the house when you’re hungry.
- Meal prep as soon as you get home: now, I’m not talking about meal prep where you make food for the entire week. Cooked food begins to grow bad bacteria on it about 2 hours after being cooked, so if you’re eating already-cooked food 5 days after making it, there’s a host of bad bacteria going into your gut which can lead to a lot of digestive issues including gas and bloating among other things. If you want to meal prep that way, try to only prep 2-3 days in advance before eating it, and then prep again mid-week for the next 2-3 days. The meal prep I’m talking about is taking your food, like broccoli or Brussel sprouts, and chopping them up to be ready for when you want to cook them, but not cook them till you’re about to eat them for a meal (if possible). You can also buy pre-chopped organic veggies (the ones that won’t go bad if you chop them and leave them for a few days) like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts etc at the grocery store (I do most of my shopping at trader joes, and find more specific items at places like whole foods, sprouts, or mothers). If you don’t live near a store where you can find the products you’re looking for, there are a lot of great online places that will deliver depending on where you live. I haven’t used any, but I’ve heard Thrive Market is great for foods that won’t perish (almond flour, raw almond butter, unbleached bamboo toilet paper, etc).
I make sure all of our food is organic, and to get all of the important food groups like:
- Fruit: this always depends on the season and what’s best. I don’t eat a ton of fruit in the winter, but make sure to include frozen berries in my smoothies for the antioxidants
- Vegetables: I make sure there are an array of colors in my cart, alongside a lot of green veggies
- Protein: this could be “vegan” (I’m not vegan) such as hummus or chickpeas, or free-range chicken, or wild salmon
- Healthy Fat: like avocados
- Starches: like sweet potatoes
I want to note that I believe in balance, so I have 1-2 flex meals (not days) a week where I enjoy my favorite dessert or meal that isn’t super healthy, etc. If you generally eat healthily, these flex meals won’t cause too much inflammation in the body and it will be a lot easier to jump back on board the next meal with healthy eating again. And it’s always best to keep your flex meals out of the house and enjoy them by going out to eat if you choose to! That’s just how I like to do things.
If you found that this post was helpful, please feel free to pass it along to anyone else you think it could serve! And as always, I love hearing from you, so make sure to get in touch in the comments below or on Instagram and let me know if you have any other questions! I’ve linked a few of my kitchen must-haves that help make eating healthy easier, so you can click on the picture to shop if needed.