5 Ways to Set Healthy Grocery Shopping Habits
Food and water. We desperately need these things to survive… yet with today’s accessibility to all things devilishly decadent and delicious, it’s just as easy to slowly erode ourselves with them instead. The definition of “too much of a good thing” turns tragic when we can’t seem to get out of our own way no matter how hard we try. If you’re jazzed with your shopping routine and daily food choices, then rest that weary brain of yours… this article isn’t for you. However, if you need a kick in the pants when it comes to the “healthy shopping habits” dance then lace up, partner! We’re about to go to grocery boot camp!
- Don’t Shop Hungry. This advice is going to be novel tovery few of you (but it’s still fresh enlightenment for someone!) yet its importance cannot be stressed enough. We’re starting with this one because it has the potential to knock the rest of this list off it’s axis in spectacular fashion.Shopping hungry can make your sensibility take a back seat as your sensational cravings confiscate the wheel and steer you towards all the things that would just be SO good right now. With your defenses down, hunger high and anything you could POSSIBLY want staring you smack dab in the face, our “alarm clock reasoning” chimes in. That’s the negotiation tactic we use in the morning when we convince ourselves hitting the snooze button five times in a row is OK. Your brain filters out what doesn’t haveto be done, then nixes some more “needs,” then a couple more… and you’re totally OK with it every time. Until you’re fully awake AND GO INTO ABSOLUTE PANIC MODE AND REALIZE YOU MADE A SERIES OF TERRIBLE MISTAKES.At that point, it’s too late. Shopping hungry brings that same beast to the surface in broad daylight, with zero shame, and fills your cart full of uninvited items that were never even on the list to begin with. Sure, they would be tasty… but stick to the plan.
- Blueprint Your Intention. That title is a just a fancy way of saying “make a shopping list,” but with a twist. Creating an itemized checklist of what you’re plunking your hard-earned dollars down on is important, but so is the intentionthat goes with it. Don’t just stop at strategizing for the store, game plan what you want to get out of your grocery bag.Are you trying to eat better for lunch or dinner? Are you ready to start eating breakfast in the mornings? Trying to shed some pounds? Attempting to put some on? Need to lower your cholesterol or increase your fiber? Got a big event coming up? Understanding your goals and taking a laser-focused approach to every aspect is going to maximize your efficiency whilst keeping you on track during one of the easiest points to derail: food shopping. Create the blueprint and drop the hammer to it.
- Cut the Sugar. Seriously, cut it. Get rid of it, the excess anyway. Naturally occurring sugars that show up in fruits, vegetables, dairy, and honey (to name the big ones) are good in proper moderation… but you’re hard-pressed to find an excuse good enough to add in extra processed sugar.Too much sugar fluxes your insulin, which is your “master hormone” in charge of shuttling carbohydrates, amino acids and fats into the cells of your body. Surplus sugar on a regular basis overworks your insulin like a factory worker putting in quadruple overtime, every day, without a break. Eventually the sugar-straw breaks the insulin-camel’s back. Your hormone regulating all those carbs, aminos and fatty acids literally can’t anymore. Your triglycerides are going to shoot through the roof, putting you at a much higher risk for heart disease. Your energy levels are perpetually abysmal when sugar is a constant. We could keep going, but the point has been sharpened.
Need more insight? Check out “That Sugar Film!”
Like Uncle Joey from “Full House” would say; Cut. It. Out.
- Play to Your Strengths and Plan for Your Weaknesses. If you’ve already got some health hits lined up in your arsenal that you’re routinely stoked about, then keep those as highlighted mainstays! It’s a major health trend to see how varied and exotic we can make our meals but let’s be real… Sometimes a simple salad, chicken and rice, hearty soup, basic sandwich, or boring ol’ eggs and oatmeal (for a few examples of the delightfully mundane) are not only great fallbacks to keep you kicking butt, but sometimes paramount in maintaining your sanity. You’ve got a million decisions to make and projects to take on all the time. Stick to your strengths and old faithfuls when applicable.On the flipside, you must “plan for your weaknesses.” If you’re the type where a single serving of chips is “the entire bag” and a proper portion of ice cream is a pint then you should plan avoid having those things in your home. If you know, no matter how hard you wish upon a star, breakfast is not on the menu, then you should probably plan a meal replacement powder or smoothie instead. If your crux is lunch and all the fantastically scrumptious options near your work, then you should probably pack a lunch.
Flex your strengths, nix your vices and come out on top every time.
- Have Healthy Back-Ups. The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. No matter how precise and motivated you are with your planning, Murphy’s law assures you somethingwill go wrong. It’s how we react to these hiccups that inevitably seals our fate of fortune which is why it’s good to have a safety net when your plan falls apart.Luckily, we’re alive at a time where there are a ton of health-focused frozen food options primed and ready to be your back-up. Another great methodology is figuring out which stores, restaurants, delis or cafés around you have options that fit your blueprint of intent for those times when you MUST stop somewhere for something quick. If you have those spots already orchestrated, then it takes the anxiety of the situation away while leaving you primed for prosperity.
Plan the work and work the plan. Happy grocery shopping!