The thing about grocery shopping is it’s never a one-and-done event. People expect to be fed, like, multiple times a day. (Bit rude if you ask us.) How you shop can have a marked impact on wellness goals. Whether it’s weight loss, lowering dodgy cholesterol, or just adopting a cleaner way of eating – the method matters! So here’s your 10-step plan.
1. Be choosy
Firstly, smart cookies shop fresh and local. If you’re lucky enough to have a Harris Farm Market nearby you’re already winning. It’s an immersive riot of colour and variety that makes it easy to put your health first. In fact, that gorgeous farm-to-table vibe might be worth a wee road trip if there’s not one close.
2. Read the fine print
Nutrition labels tell interesting stories but it can be hard decoding them without a corresponding food science degree. Let’s make it easy: the more unrecognisable ingredients listed on a label, and the longer that list, the less likely it is to be a wise choice. We said what we said!
3. Shop the perimeter first
The unique layout of HFM means you can toss this tip but if you do find yourself in a regular grocery store, patrolling the perimeter is an age-old rule of thumb for healthy shopping. It’s where the freshest, whole foods live. Fill your trolley with fruit and veg, meats, seafood and dairy items first, and only then venture inward.
4. Give it the cold shoulder
The freezers are also generally located on the outer loop and you can find good, healthy stuff here, too. Think plant proteins like frozen edamame, frozen fruits perfect for smoothies (keep an eye out for HFM’s new Re-Purposeful Picks frozen berries range), and easy vegetarian meals to keep in the freezer for times you don’t feel like cooking.
5. Managing the middle
Dry staples including rice, pasta and cereals, as well as canned and jarred goods like tomatoes, kidney beans, stocks, sauces and condiments, live here. Don’t be afraid to stock up on these essential basics but be discerning. Many middle-aisle items contain preservatives and additives to help keep them shelf stable, which is all well and good but…
6. Be a plan-tastic shopper
Wherever you shop, don’t fly by the seat of your pants. Planning is everything. We’re not only talking about a list but a list that has been created with a week or more’s worth of specific meals in mind. Besides helping you stick to your goals, you’ll spend less and be in and out faster. Seek recipe inspo from your favourite foodie bloggers and/or a divine magazine (much like the one you’re flipping through now!). Take inventory and note any staples that need replenishing, too.
7. Danger Will Robinson!
Bickies, chips and chockies, oh my! Can you stop at a single serving size? If so, go you! Some of us cannot be trusted in the snacky aisles when we’re on a health quest. That goes double for sugary drinks. When in doubt, keep them out of the house!
8. Never shop hungry or tired
You know it’s true. Hungry, tired people are not responsible for what they throw in the trolley and/or mindlessly consume in the car on the way home. So grab a sandwich, smoothie or piece of fruit before you head out.
9. Beware the checkout
At HFM, we’ve taken care of this for you but, in regular stores, the checkout can be one more chance to test your resolve with not-so-healthful treats on your way out. So stick your fingers in your ears and go la la la until you’ve cleared the store.
10. Travel solo
Is a grocery shopping buddy ever really a good idea? If you’re both on the same page and can successfully divide and conquer, then maybe. Often, though, the process is slowed and complicated by extras who refuse to stay on script. And sometimes the worst offenders aren’t even toddlers!