A grocery cart with a red handle in the aisle.

Ever since I’ve become more aware of my health, and have this passion for living well, the grocery store has become something I genuinely look forward to!

Whether me and my husband are doing a big shop, or a micro shop, it’s always enjoyable. I love food and creating meals that make me feel healthy and energized. My desire to eat well has helped me navigate the grocery store more smart and efficiently. If you’re struggling to find some sort of healthy rhythm at the grocery store, then today’s post is definitely for you!

Grocery shopping can be overwhelming at times, and I totally get it! My passion for eating well and creating simple meals that make me feel healthy and energized has helped me develop a few easy approaches to take when it comes to a healthier and more efficient grocery shop.

1. PLAN AHEAD + MAKE A LIST: Before you head to the grocery store, make a list and write down exactly what you’re going to need. It doesn’t matter if you’re setting out one day to do a big shop, or you do micro shops throughout the week. A list is always going to be beneficial! Think about your week, or your next few days ahead, and have a rough idea of the foods you will want to be eating. Wandering aimlessly down the aisles can cause a lot of foods to just wind up in your basket unintentionally. Schedule some time to sit down and really think about your week, write your food list, then head out! If you’re not much of a list person, you could take photos of the food you already have in your fridge and cupboards so you have a visual of what you might need for the week ahead. I often shop at a few different grocery stores, which makes a list so essential! For example, I’ll grab my list and go to my general grocery store to shop the periphery, then I’ll head to my local health foods store and get any remaining items I might need. I personally find this method to be more balanced and budget friendly than doing an entire shop at a health foods store. Having a list will help prevent you from over or under buying, especially if you’re shopping at more than one place for your food items.

2. EAT BEFORE YOU GO: Do not go to the grocery store hungry! If you’re anything like me you’ll wind up buying everything and anything, and meal wise it [likely] won’t make much sense. If I go to the grocery store hungry, I feel less patient and just end up grabbing whatever in desperate need to get it done and get out. When I get home from shopping on an empty stomach and look at what I bought, it usually doesn’t make much sense as there was no thought going into my shop because my mind was focused on my hunger cues. Avoid grocery shopping while hungry as much as possible!

3. SHOP THE PERIPHERY: Most general grocery stores have a common layout. Produce, meats/fish/eggs, dairy products, and breads tend to be around the periphery of the grocery store. As a rule of thumb, I like to start my shop by shopping the periphery to grab my fruits and veggies, protein sources, nut milks, hummus, breads, etc first. Then once I have filled my cart with whole food items that contain key nutrients, I make my way to the checkout. I don’t typically shop up and down the aisles at a general grocery store, that said, some aisles contain specific items I need, such as rice, oats, heart healthy cooking oils, or spices. For example, I’ll go into one of the center aisles to grab my Organic California Basmati Rice, or my oats, because I know exactly where they are. It’s a good idea to head to the checkout after you shop the periphery so you don’t get distracted by all the boxed/highly-processed foods, however, if there are some nutritious items you know are in the center aisles, then of course go grab them and head to the checkout. Furthermore, if you’re shopping at a health foods store, like Whole Foods, you may want to go up and down the center aisles as some of their aisles carry things like supplements and healthy grab-and-go snack options. The layout in a health foods store won’t be comparable to a general grocery store. In your general grocery store, the aisles are often filled with a lot of boxed food items that contain highly processed ingredients, while your whole food items are likely going to be along the periphery of the grocery store.

4. SHOP FOR COLOURS: Make sure your grocery cart has a range of colours. This ensures you’ll be getting a good variety of nutrients from your food. It’s important to eat a rainbow of foods! Different colours have different nutrient benefits for your overall health. Your colourful items are going to come from the produce section, so make sure you have not only greens, but purples/blues, reds, and yellows/oranges as well in your cart. You can make a simple goal to try and have at least three different coloured veggies [i.e. mixed leafy greens, purple cabbage, red bell pepper] and 3 different coloured fruits [i.e. blueberries, oranges, avocado] in your cart.

Thank you for reading today’s post, I hope you enjoyed! Do you have any hacks when it comes to a healthier grocery shop? Comment below to share, I would love to hear.

Jenna XO

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