What’s your nutritional GPA?: How to be a savvy grocery shopper

You’ve made your New Year’s resolutions and so far you’re doing all the right things. You’re making it into the gym on a regular schedule and have even found a fitness class you enjoy. Your mornings begin with a hearty, protein rich breakfast and you’re even packing your lunch for work. You did cave when one of your coworkers brought in homemade sea salt and caramel chocolate chip cookies, but hey, besides that you’re doing pretty well! Until it comes to grocery shopping.

Funny Cry for Help Ecard: I made poor decisions at the grocery store.Source: Some Ecards

You can work out until you’re blue in the face, but if you aren’t maintaining a balanced, healthy diet then you likely won’t see or feel the benefits and results you’re after. It could be due to a moment of weakness while strolling down the chips and dip or frozen pizza aisle. Or maybe you’re shopping on an empty (or full) stomach, as both can make a grocery shopping trip a failure towards your health goals. You’re already working so hard towards obtaining a healthy and active lifestyle, so why not make the full commitment and be a savvy grocery shopper?

IMG_1360My hidden gem farmer’s market in Hell’s Kitchen. The best looking produce for the best price!

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What’s the plan Stan?

You didn’t make a list ahead of time and now you can’t remember what you really need and you’re doing the grocery cart dance move by grabbing everything in reach that looks appealing. Plan ahead for what you need for meals and healthy snacks and stick to your list as this will prevent the wandering eye. In addition you’ll also cut down on the amount of time you’ll spend shopping leaving you time to work on some real dance moves!

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You’re not “tasting the rainbow”

Put those Skittles down, we’re not talking that rainbow. Your shopping cart should contain a variety of colors from the produce department as each color tends to offer your body a different source of essential vitamins and minerals for your body. If fresh produce stretches your budget a bit, first shop for what’s in season and then it’s okay to hit the frozen aisle or even the canned food. Just avoid foods that are prepared with sauces in them or have added salts and sugars.

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You shop when you’re hungry

These are the moments when we are at our weakest. Everything looks good and we lose our ability to resist the temptation of chips and dips and Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. Try having a light snack as shopping on a full stomach can lead to you not wanting to buy any food and results to ordering in when you really are hungry at home but have no healthy options on hand.

You’re shopping when you’re full

It’s good to not shop on an empty stomach, but it can be equally bad to shop on a full stomach as nothing will look appealing and you’ll go home with less than you need for the week causing you to make poor choices later in the week. Try having a light snack or bringing along water to keep you hydrated and hold you over while you shop.

To the person who boughtthe Fat-free, Sugar-free,Lactose-Free, Soy,Coffee Creamer Substitute Be afraid! Be very afraid!

Source: Rotten Ecards

You’re fooled by things like “sugar-free” and snack size.

Just because it’s sugar-free and/or 100 calories a serving, doesn’t mean it’s healthy and unfortunately a lack of self-control can lead to multiple “100 calorie servings”.  Instead, look for foods with natural sugars and no additives or sugar substitutes. If you’re going to have something sweet, have the real deal. And if you’re looking for moderation, look for things that are already individually packaged for snack size or make your own 100 calorie portions at home by dividing into Ziploc bags.

Avoid eye contact

Retailers know that if you see it, you’ll be tempted to buy it. Because of this, often times tempting items that may not have already been on your grocery list are placed at eye level so you’re tempted to add these items to your purchase. Stick to the list and avoid the wandering eye!IMG_1395

You aren’t grocery shopping enough

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, most people only grocery shop roughly 1x a week. If you’re in this category, you’re likely purchasing too many packaged, unnatural (aka not the most healthy option) goods as this frequency isn’t often enough to keep your fresh produce replenished. Try going twice a week and buying what you need to hold you over until the next trip.

Trying to find time to shop twice a week and keep track of what’s about to expire…ain’t no one got time for that! Good thing there’s an app for that.

Locavore– Do you know what’s in season throughout the year in your region? This app will tell you what’s in season and allows you to compare supermarkets and farmers markets. Buying in season helps ensure not just good quality produce, but also a good price!

Fooducate– Now you can look up a food on the spot to see what its nutritional value is. By scanning the bar code, you can see what grade (A-F) that food has been given and if there’s a better option out there. So what’s your GPA nutrition goal?

Green Egg Shopper – Keep track of the foods you purchase and their expiration dates by logging them in each time you shop. This app will keep track of when they expire and when foods should be replenished.

What are some of your healthy grocery shopping tricks?

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