Since this weekend was my sister’s graduation weekend (she is officially a UCSC college graduate–congrats Dolly!), I didn’t have time to cook anything. With our house crammed with our Southern Californian and San Jose relatives, we celebrated by dining at Blue Line Pizza in Los Gatos and then topping it off at home with two delicious cakes from Icing on the Cake. I know, I was not health conscious at all this weekend, but it’s okay! Life is about balance, right? Eat and live healthy, but leave room for indulging on special occasions. The pizzas and cakes were SO worth eating. Drool. Drool. Drool worthy. No regrets.
Since I have no recipe, tonight I’ll share some grocery shopping tips with you all and how to shop healthy. After all, you can’t eat healthy if you aren’t buying the right ingredients! This will hopefully help make your healthy lifestyle slightly easier/more doable.
1. Grocery shop once a week
Grocery shop once a week because if you’re buying healthier foods, that must mean that you’re buying fruit, vegetables, meat, grains, or dairy. These are mostly all perishable foods and will stay fresh for only about a week or two. You’ll be making more frequent trips to the market, but at least you’ll be spending less money at one time.
2. Stay in the perimeter of the market when you go shopping and avoid the aisles
If you’ve ever noticed when you go to the supermarket, all of the perishable foods (things without an expiration date 2-20 years from now) are all in the perimeter of the grocery store. Dairy products (not ice cream), meat and proteins, vegetables, fruit, bakery whole grain items (bread) all border the store. In the inner portion of the store are aisles with shelves that are lined with sugar laden snacks and processed items that are best to avoid. Go in those aisles and you may or may not succumb to the pull of the addictive Oreos, Doritos, Cheetos, Ramen, Cocoa Puffs, Lucky Charms, etc.
In simpler terms: good stuff on the outside, stuff you should avoid are on the inside. Of course there are some aisles where there are whole grain pastas and seasoning, but for the most part, the perimeter of the grocery store is where you should be when shopping.
3. Eat before you go grocery shopping
Don’t ever go grocery shopping on an empty stomach or if you’re even feeling slightly hungry. Why? Well, you might end up leaving with more food than you’d ever intended. When you’re hungry and are surrounded by a multitude of food options, everything is going to look/sound good. You’re not entirely the most rational person in a grocery store when you’re hungry, and so while you normally wouldn’t buy, for example, 3 bags of chips. When you’re hungry, those 3 bags of chips might sound like the greatest idea in the world.
I’ve gone to Michael’s, an arts and crafts store, when I was starving and that resulted in me leaving with more than just felt or tacky glue. If I could walk out of an arts and crafts store with two packs of gummy candy (something I hardly eat), then going to a full on supermarket while feeling ravenous would definitely result in a much larger debacle.
The bottom line is that it’s just easier to resist the temptations of foods you shouldn’t be buying when you’re not hungry.
4. Check out your local farmer’s market
Farmer’s Markets generally sell only fresh fruit and vegetables, and so the likelihood of you purchasing too many boxes of cereal will be close to none. And even though farmer’s markets can be quite pricey, there’s usually at least one stand that has a great deal. I’ve paid 6 dollars for 3 bundles of kale before and made this Coastal Kale Salad. Fresh kale for 6 bucks? Yes, please! Our local farmer’s market also has the deal of mixing and matching 10 pounds of fruit for only $15. Our fridge is permanently stocked with pluots, nectarines, peaches, and grapes.
In a nutshell, look in your cart when you’re checking out at the grocery market. If most of your items are perishable foods from the perimeter of the store and there are mostly vegetables and fruits, then you’ve probably done a great job of purchasing healthier foods to feed your family with!