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How To Navigate The Grocery Store

Grocery shopping is one of those necessary tasks and just part of “adulting” but it isn’t always fun, especially when you feel like you are wandering around the store like a lost puppy dog. Thankfully now there is curbside pick-up and delivery services which make the chore a bit more palatable for some. There are SO many options at the grocery store now that it can be hard to discern what to buy. Healthy and clean eating is much more popular and accessible nowadays, which is fantastic, but with it comes a lot of products boasting terms like  ‘all natural’, ‘organic’, ‘low-fat’, ‘Whole30 Approved’…just to name a few. What does it all even mean?! There are so many healthy, organic options on the shelves now but what do you do when this whole clean eating thing is all new territory for you and you are overwhelmed and confused by all of the jargon?! 

Let me give you a few tips to help you navigate the store and simplify the overwhelm so that you can go in and conquer your shopping and press forward with your healthy, clean eating plan.

First things first. Always shop the perimeter of the grocery store! You may never have taken notice but every grocery store you walk into has the exact same layout. The perishable items and fresh produce are on the outside perimeter and the non-perishable, dry goods are on the inside aisles. If your goal is to eat a more healthy and clean diet, stick to the outside perimeter and don’t even venture down the inside aisles and get lost in the land of cookies and chips. On the outside perimeter you will find your fresh produce, meat, and dairy items. 

Go prepared with a list. Entering the grocery store without a plan and a list is asking for it…asking for your cart to be filled with impulse buys and things you likely wouldn’t have chosen had you gone in with a specific list and plan. Take a few minutes before you go to the grocery store and make a game plan. Your wallet and your waistline will thank you for the intentional forethought. 

Don’t go hungry. I think we’ve all made this mistake a time or two and it goes hand in hand with the above tip to go prepared with a list. When we enter the store with a grumbling tummy, our stomach is making more of the decisions than our brain, and that isn’t going to end well (typically). Eat a well balanced meal BEFORE going to the store so that when you arrive you are satisfied, well nourished, and able to think with a clear mind so you can make healthy choices that align with your goals.

Read your labels. Take the time to turn around that box of crackers or bag of granola and look for some key items such as serving size, sugar content, ingredients, calories, saturated/unsaturated/trans fat amounts, as well as sodium amounts. Learning to read and interpret a food label is critical to making healthy choices at the grocery store. It sure does pay to pay attention. There are a lot of “healthy” convenience foods on the shelves now that look good and harmless, but be careful because oftentimes they are still processed to a degree and not as good as fresh, whole foods. 

Navigating the grocery store can be overwhelming and time consuming but I know implementing these 4 easy steps and keeping these things in mind will help you tremendously, especially when it comes to making healthy choices to keep you on track with your goals. Being mindful goes a long way.

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach, Certified Personal Trainer