Grocery stores - a place that is both fun and frustrating for me.
Fun because I love shopping for food for myself and my family, and because I enjoy looking at new products.
Frustrating because it's an in-my-face reminder of how much processed food is going home with people (and I assume, eaten).
Now, I don't always go around watching what people put in their carts, but sometimes I catch myself doing it subconsciously. I don't set out to judge people - it starts simply as curiosity.
I also pay close attention to how my grocery cart looks. I realize I'm not, nor do I need to be perfect; however, I'd like to think that if I bumped into a client I wouldn't be completely embarrassed by the contents of my cart.
We've all heard that we should "shop around the outside aisles" at the grocery store and avoid the cans, bags, boxes, and jars in the middle. That's good advice.
We've also been told to read labels and while they're still very confusing for most people, I think people have some idea as to what to look for and they do it (at least somewhat) successfully most of the time.
But what if we made it even simpler? I mean REALLY simple?
Always make fruit and vegetables your biggest buy. For things that don't really fit in a food group, aim to have 3 or fewer of those items in your cart (less if you don't happen to be buying many fruit and vegetables that trip).
For example, the other day when I went shopping, this is what was in my cart (don't judge - I'm going out on a limb here and telling the truth ... It's not flawless):
Red, yellow, and green peppers
Whole grain pitas
Whole grain small tortillas
Whole wheat bagels*
High fibre low sugar granola bars
Whole wheat all purpose flour
Pecorino Romano cheese
Low fat marble cheddar cheese
Lean ground veal/pork/beef combo pack
Chicken Kiev (uncooked)***
Lean ground beef****
Extra virgin olive oil
Jar of pasta sauce
So why is it so helpful to do this? Because it ensures that there are more healthy choices in your home so that when hunger strikes, the healthy choice is the easy choice.
Bottom line: If you don't shop this way, you're setting yourself up for failure.
*our local grocery store stopped carrying the whole grain bagels I posted about before. My husband and I are both athletes who find these bagels effective for giving us a nice energy boost.
** I like to buy high fibre low sugar varieties, but my husband also likes to have a less healthy option available. I have decided not to fight this battle. Oh, and I bought Rice Krispies to make squares with those marshmallows
***our local grocery store prepares some stuffed meats that are tasty, affordable, and convenient. We tend to lean on these choices once or twice a week for dinner. They're fresh, tasty, and aren't loaded up with junk
****this was a weird grocery trip because there are usually more vegetarian protein sources on the list. Just happened to be the week that I was making meatballs for a dinner party.