ABCs of Nutrition: Shop Smart

One of the easiest ways to positively impact your eating habits is to shop smart. If you buy packages of brownie mix to store in your cabinets, then you’re much more likely to eat brownies in the evening when you’re hanging out watching TV. Same goes with ice-cream and Kettle Chips. If you buy it, you’re much more likely to eat it. If you don’t it, at the very least, you’ll have to work that much harder to satisfy your sweet, salt or whatever-you-like craving.

Here are the five steps I recommend for shopping smarter.

Clear the cupboard. Though this isn’t part of the actual shopping process, it’s best start with a clean slate before you load up on the healthy, wholesome stuff. Open up those cabinet doors and remove processed foods you shouldn’t eat anyway. If it’s old and outdated, time to say bye-bye. If you feel guilty about waste, donate the items to your local food bank.

Plan ahead. Shopping should be more than replacing items that are running low; rather, it should be a proactive attempt to create a staple of meals for a given time period. Think through what you’ll prepare for dinner in the upcoming week and build a list from there. Not only will be you become more efficient at buying and preparing meals, but you’ll spend less money and waste less food in the process.

Don’t shop hungry. If you go with a well-planned list, hunger may not be as much of an issue. But if you shop somewhere in which samples are freely displayed, you’ll be much more to try and buy something if your stomach is growling! You may end up with a basket full of expensive items that end up getting thrown out anyway.

Shop outside. If you can visit a local farmers’ market, you’ll have a wonderful selection of seasonal produce to create delicious meals with ease. But if you shop indoors, try to spend more time circulating the perimeter of the store. This is where the healthy, whole foods reside within most markets. The cake mixes, hamburger helpers, chips and soda are found somewhere in between.

Leave the kids at home. If you don’t have kids, then worry no more! But if you have a critter or two, and you can leave home without them, it will serve your shopping basket well. No treats to buy for good behavior. No sugary drinks because they’re thirsty. No cinnamon rolls on Saturday morning. You’ll be much more apt to stick to the list if you’re shopping in silence.

Photo courtesy of Red Barn Real Estate.

Melinda Hinson