I live in a town that can feel big at times, yet awfully small at other times. It feels particularly small when I’m at the grocery store, where I run into someone I know just about every time; and without a doubt, there’s a casual (or not-so-casual) eye sweep of my cart. I get it – it’s an occupational hazard! Planning food and meals for my family is hard work, so I’m always happy to share my tips to make it easier for everyone else!
Well-planned food shopping is very important for the your health and your family’s health. It’s where future meal planning or new behavior changes can start to take shape. There are a lot of folks out there who can't stand going to grocery stores, so here are my tips that I use for my own grocery shopping. I also do personalized grocery shopping – I can meet you at your local store to go aisle-by- aisle to figure out ways to make the best, or better, choices for your cart....
Roundtable Nutrition Grocery Shopping Tips:
#1 TIP: MAKE A LIST & STICK TO IT
I’ve had a lots of clients and patients complain about meal planning and it always comes back to their grocery shopping. You can’t make a meal if you don’t have everything you need in the fridge or pantry. I keep a running list on my phone so whenever we run out of something or I’m planning to make something specific, I can add these items to my list. It also helps me avoid racking my brain in the parking lot of the store!
I’ll talk more about the “sticking to it” in a later post about weight loss tips but sticking to the list also helps minimize your total at the check out counter. Plus, when you stick to this list, you’re more efficient in your shopping and you minimize the amount of time in the aisles.
#2 TIP: ORDER ONLINE
So many grocery stores offer an online shopping service with multiple delivery options. If you have a household where both parents work, or you just really hate going to the grocery store, then this one’s for you! It’s a massive time saver, can help you stick to your list (see above) and helps you avoid temptations in the middle aisles. Plus, you can re-order the same list so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every week!
# 3 TIP: ORDER MEAL KITS OR CSA DELIVERIES
Along the same line as shopping your grocery store from your computer, you can try out a meal delivery kit or CSA delivery service, so you do less shopping in general. In my area, I’ve used both! To my clients who are in a rut with their cooking or are trying to learn how to cook for themselves for the first time – I highly recommend trying them. Plated, Blue Apron, Purple Carrot (vegan, so fun to explore their recipes!) are all great options for meal kits. Mike’s Organic Delivery is amazing if you’re in the Fairfield County, CT area.
#4 TIP: MAKE HALF YOUR CART VEGETABLE OR FRUIT
This was a great tip I learned from Brian Wansink’s book “Slim By Design”, where he recommends a great simple tool for grocery shopping: fill half of your cart with vegetables and fruit... literally! That only leaves the other half for everything else, which is exactly how you’re supposed to fill your plate (come see me for personalized Portion Plate help, too). Such a simple trick and everyone can and should use it.
#5 TIP: SEE IF YOUR GROCERY STORE EMPLOYS A DIETITIAN
* For my CT-based readers, ShopRite does an excellent job of this!
This is a tremendous resource to have if you’re trying a new way of eating or avoiding certain foods (gluten, dairy, soy etc.). Retail dietitians can guide you to healthy products in their store and help you identify new foods.
Feel free to meet me at Whole Foods in Greenwich, I’m there about 1x week!