Grocery Shopping Isn’t For the Weak

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Fair Warning: Some of you may not like this post, but I’m hoping you’ll read the entire article first and consider the importance of what you eat and how it can impact your health—and then decide.

My husband and I just returned from the local grocery store. We don’t usually go to this particular one, but I needed a few fresh veggies to round out the stir-fry I had planned for dinner. We headed to the produce section, and while I scavenged through zucchini, peppers, carrots, and onions, hubby wandered over to an endcap to pick out a melon. After choosing a cantaloupe, he joined me to finish the final selections. He seemed a little distracted, glancing around the store from time to time.

“Something on your mind?” I asked.

“I’ll tell you later,” he said.

After bagging up the vegetables, we headed to the checkout lines. We only had a few items and turned into the Express Lane. No waiting. As the cashier rang up our goodies, I noticed the other lines were stacked four-deep, the shopper’s baskets brimming with boxes of cereal, cookies, crackers, frozen dinners, ice cream, bottles of sugary syrups, and cartons of soda. My husband was quiet . . . and so was I.

We left the store and after reaching the car, we loaded our bags and sat inside for a minute. Finally, my husband said what was on both of our minds.

“That was depressing.”

I knew exactly what he meant, and it wasn’t the first time.

Every day shoppers walk the aisles of food stores, making decisions about what to feed themselves and their families. And the distractions are endless. For example, it’s not a coincidence that, in most stores, the bakery and deli are located near the entrance. Marketers know the tempting aroma of freshly baked bread, cookies, cakes, and the deli’s fried chicken will draw shoppers like flies, hypnotizing them into purchasing foods full of sugar, fat, and useless calories that leave their wallets lighter, and their bodies heavier.

So how can you plan a safe, healthy, and productive shopping trip? Here are a few tips:

Fortunately, many food stores have two entrances. If you’re a sweet treat fanatic, find out which side the bakery is on, and avoid it as if your life depended on it. Because it does.

Make a list of what you need to buy. I know you’ve heard this before—and with good reason.  Food shopping has a purpose, and many of us forget that within minutes of entering the door. Don’t blame poor food choices on subliminal and persuasive marketing. Now that you recognize the enemy, you can fight back by leaving the garbage on the shelves.

Read food labels—on everything. Avoid products high in sugar or sugar-related ingredients. Check both calorie and fat count based on the actual serving size.

Buy organic food whenever possible. More choices are arriving on grocery shelves every day. If you don’t see organic fruit, vegetables, eggs, meat, or poultry, ask the store’s manager to bring them in.

Yes, changing the way you shop for food can be challenging if not a bit overwhelming, especially if your choices have been based on convenience instead of nutrition. So rather than doing a complete overhaul of your shopping habits all at once, try making adjustments to a single food group each week. For example, begin by eliminating sugary, salty, high fat snack foods and bakery products like sweet rolls, cookies, donuts, and cakes and replace them with healthier options. Here are a few easy-to-make Kitchen Spirit recipes that are gluten-free and use organic ingredients:

Blueberry Banana Bread
Gluten-free Banana Nut Squares
Kitchen Spirit Trail Mix
Roasted Pumpkin and Sunflower Seeds
Paleo Granola

The following week, choose a second food group. Buy fresh vegetables instead of canned or frozen. And if possible, choose organic options to reduce the amount of ingested insecticides, carcinogens, and other poisons and toxins used by the farming industry.

By the time week five or six rolls around, you’ll be well on your way to eating a much healthier diet. You may even begin to lose a pound or two. And don’t be surprised if you find you have more energy and less brain fog. Our bodies respond to the type of fuel we put inside them. Getting rid of the garbage is a huge step to becoming healthier and feeling better!