Today, I went grocery shopping after work. It’s funny, but in the last few months I’ve begun to really look at what is inside someone’s grocery cart. I constantly hear from people that they don’t understand why they’re overweight, but it never occurs to them to change what is being purchased at the grocery store. I don’t say this to sound sanctimonious now that I’ve figured out how to eat healthy, I say it because I think the ignorance is genuine. People don’t realize what is in food both in terms of fat and calories, but also preservatives, sugar and sodium.
Many foods advertised as low fat/low cal are often compensated by being sky high in sugar and sodium. If you buy anything within the interior aisles of the supermarket, chances are your food is loaded with preservatives and other unpleasant chemicals, fillers and calories.
When you go grocery shopping, really try to stick to the perimeter of the store. This is typically where fresh produce, meats and the bakery are located. Once you start venturing down the aisles, you will encounter foods that come in a box, can or frozen section which usually means chemicals, preservatives, extra fat/calories/sodium. Go grocery shopping with a clear list and a clear head. Don’t shop while you’re on the phone or otherwise distracted. This can cause you not to read labels and buy impulsively. Take the time to read labels—look not only for nutritional information but find out if the meat or produce is organic or where it’s from.
Shopping healthy is, unfortunately, fairly expensive. My grocery bill for me this week was nearly $65. The majority of the food I bought today will only last me one week, though some of it can be frozen and saved for a later date (i.e. chicken breast strips were buy one, get one free, so one went into the freezer). That’s a lot of money for a single person. Try to watch the mail for grocery store inserts to see who is having sales on lean meats and produce. This will help in your overall bill reduction.
For example today, I didn’t have time to stop at Sunflower Market, which is where I typically buy most of my produce and all of my meat. It’s usually all organic but incredibly cheap (a 6-pack of chicken drumsticks is as low as $1.50). So I had to hit the main supermarket for everything. Their organic chicken was $8 a package, which is crazy expensive. Non-organic chicken was $4.50 for a package, but this week with my shopper’s card, I could get two packages of the organic chicken for $8 since it was BOGO. Watch for these kind of deals and stock up.
Try shopping the perimeter for one week. Make all of your meals fresh at home. If you are working or busy with a family, make large quantities and freeze it for the week so you have more time. Although I still seriously heart my ice cream, I can guarantee you will feel so much better cooking with only fresh ingredients. So put the Hamburger Helper back on the shelf and give this challenge a try.
Share your grocery cart contents!
What I Bought at the Grocery Store Today
Blueberries, Strawberries, Plums, Cherries, Watermelon, Red/Green/Orange Peppers, Corn on the Cob, Sliced roast beef from deli, 93% lean ground beef, organic chicken breast strips, whole grain white Wonder bread (I can’t get on the whole wheat band wagon, just can’t do it!!!), fettucini noodles, egg noodles, 1 healthy request cream of mushroom soup, 2 quarts of Greek yogurt, low-fat string cheese, parmesan cheese, reduced fat cream cheese (for a recipe).