I’m going to admit that I’ve snacked more, drank more, eaten things that were more convenient and slacked off on healthier options lately.
OK, I said it…
If you’ve spent the last few months at home and noticed yourself hunting for snacks in your pantry more than usual, then you also may have noticed the number on the scale tick upward. And as you can see – you’re not the only one whose eating habits have been affected by the times.
Working from home is challenging for many reasons, and for some people, being within an arm’s reach of the fridge, freezer and pantry makes it even more difficult to avoid unnecessary snacking.
Despite the grocery store being essentially unchanged from its pre-lockdown state, it’s understandable to turn to food to spice up your life. But, if you’re looking to change that number on the scale, the key to getting back on track actually starts with how you grocery shop.
What I know for sure is that the supermarket can help you to gain weight, lose weight or maintain the weight you have — you just need to choose wisely and take the time that you deserve to do so. Choosing healthier, nutritious foods and drinks is key. To help you do that, I recommend making a grocery list.
Once you create a list you can rely on, food shopping can be a breeze, instead of a chore. And this can prevent backtracking, unnecessary impulse buys and can save time, money and calories.
Ready to give your grocery trips a tune-up?
Here are my top six tips for shopping smarter:
1. Create a Master Shopping List
Have you ever pulled up to the grocery store and made a mental note of a few things you think you need, only to spend the next hour wandering up and down the aisles? It happens. But that’s why making a list is a more organized approach.
I do a hand-written list that I keep going all week long, making note of something I run out of as it happens. But some people use their computer or even their phone (some grocery stores will even allow you to add items to your shopping cart throughout the week on their app). When I do my shopping in-person, I group items into categories; my veggies in one place, dairy in another etc., and it reflects the layout of my store. That way, I can plug in which ingredients I’m running low on and match them up with the specific areas of the store — so the next time I go shopping there’s no aimless wandering.
2. Take Sodas and Sugary Beverages Off the List
The only thing that I recommend always leaving off your list when you head to the store is sugary drinks. They curtail weight loss and provide no nutritional value at all.
Instead, sip on beverages without added sugar, like flavored waters (I always have a pitcher in my refrigerator with water in which I have added lemons, limes, oranges, cucumbers or mint, etc.) If you want something besides water – brew your own iced tea. Boil a big pot of water, add 4-5 teabags and let it steep. Then add a bit of honey or stevia and put it in the fridge too. No need to pay someone to brew your iced tea for you with all those added sugars or even artificial sweeteners!
And for a quick hit of hydration, check out my replacement for Gatorade. It’s called Hydrate+ and it hydrates better than water (especially if you’re out in the garden or exercising AND it quenches your thirst and replenish nutrients.)
3. Spend Time in the Produce Section
This is where you’ll find nutrient-dense foods in abundance that are low in calories. Please spend a decent amount of time in the produce department, because these foods provide the bulk of the important nutrients you need each day. Look around, try things you have never had. Experiment and be adventurous! And don’t forget that frozen and canned fruits and veggies are also good to rely on when your faves are not in season.
4. Don’t Skip the Middle Aisles
You might obey the “shop the perimeter” rule because you heard that it lends itself to a better-for-you shopping cart at the end of your trip, but I don’t want you forgetting the middle aisles, either.
Make the most of the middle aisles as you’ll find key foods like nuts, beans, whole grains, gluten-free pastas and crackers and other foods that will fuel you without providing empty calories if you’re mindful of what you’re choosing.
5. Pay Attention to the Labels
Before you add anything to your cart, take a solid scan of the nutrition labels. Be sure to flip your packages to read food labels to see what you’re really getting. Don’t be fooled by terms on the flashy front of the pack; focus on the label terms that speak to you the most. If you don’t know what to look for on the label, check this out.
6. Stay Stocked
The final piece of advice I want to leave you with is to keep your shelves, freezer and fridge stocked so that you don’t run out of the foods you can rely on to create healthy meals you can easily throw together. Take a look at this post on how to stock your home pantry for maximum effectiveness.
And let me know if making a list makes your shopping easier!
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