Grocery stores today are filled with eye catching, highly processed items and some foods are even disguised as “health foods”. The "Grocery Store Tips" guide on the Resources page is here to provide you with basic tools to avoid getting tricked by labels and get to the good stuff.
Time to Get Honest
Ask yourself: How do I walk through the grocery store? What section do I buy most of my foods from/What section do I spend the most money in? What time of the day do I go grocery shopping? Do I often forget things? Do I use a list? Do I waste food during the week?
Well, depending on your answers, all of these scenarios can play a factor in how much healthy food you are purchasing. Generally speaking, sticking to the outside parts of the grocery store is a good strategy to ensure you are buying fresh versus processed foods. Also, not going in when you re hungry...seriously, we have all been there where we go in with a list and come out with something completely different because we were hungry. OR when you think you think you don't need a list and end up forgetting half the items and/or buying food you already had, inevitably wasting it and your money!
Setting a budget can be critical and people find that this can also serve as a way to make sure they are only buying the healthy foods they need! Canada doesn't have the same coupon deals as the United States, however, for all my Canadian friends out there, apps, regular flyers and points systems can be a great way to save some extra bucks.
Meal Planning and Prepping
Meal planning and prepping can be a lot of work when you first start out. However, once you make a few menu plans you can start to reuse them. One thing that can really help when making plans is making sure that you write down all the ingredients you need. This will serve a couple of purposes. It makes sure you don't forget anything at the grocery store, it helps set your weekly budget, and it helps save money by making sure you are not buying more than you need!
I highly suggest stocking up on basic pantry items, baking ingredients, nuts, seeds, etc. This can be costly since you are buying a lot at once but it will help you when you start cooking healthy and ensure you have all the right ingredients in place. I recommend you go to places such as Bulk Barn to get nuts, seeds, grains and other goodies to save some money.
What is health washing exactly? Well, companies like to use catch words and phrases and certain images to make their products seem healthy. You made of heard of something similar called "Green washing" when companies use different images and phrases to make their products seem eco-friendly, safer for the environment and human consumption. So how to make sure you are not getting blinded by health washing? Simple: look at the ingredients and make sure they are real and pronounceable (for the most part - healthy foods like "quinoa" can look suspicious if you haven't heard of it).
So hopefully by now you understand that the time you spend in the grocery store and how you spend it can actually help or hinder your health goals. Regardless, if you practice all of these suggestions or not, they are relatively simple changes you can make and don't cost anything to make them!
I would love to hear from you! What are some of your favourite grocery store strategies?
In good health,
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