A Few Quick Healthy Grocery Shopping Tips—Plus a PDF List!

by | Feb 7, 2024 | Nutrition, Podcast

‘Tis the season for New Years Resolutions to get made, and then broken—largely due to poor planning and overzealous expectations… And that can happen at the grocery store, especially if your resolutions are training/eating/lifestyle oriented. So, I wanted to talk about grocery shopping specifically, and the couple easy tips I live by to try to keep the crappy foods to a minimum. Long story short, we keep it boring and routine (but also simple and delicious)—and that works super well for us!

Pre-plan your meals for the week (roughly).

Seriously, take 5 minutes and do this right now. I’m not a major fan of planning perfectly, because we all know that’s a fool’s errand, but having a rough idea of the dinners/lunches/breakfasts, and the amount of meat/eggs/produce that you need to get through can be super helpful at the grocery store, and can really help you avoid the “bought way too much,” or the “well, I need to go to the store, so let’s just get takeout,” common issues when things get busy. (It also can help avoid over-shopping, which I am also guilty of.)

Don’t ever shop hungry.

Cliche for a reason. Keep a small stash of almonds or something equally easy to snack on in your purse, car or backpack at all times so you don’t have an excuse for this!

Keep a standing order with your healthy favorites.

We have a few of our staples automated from Amazon to keep things even simpler—especially for stuff that’s harder to find at some stores, like the Mesa Crunch cereal that Peter prefers, Kicking Horse coffee, big jars of plain peanut butter, bulk cans of sardines, and recycled toilet paper. The subscription service has gotten so good, so it’s a no-brainer for when we’re home.

Start with a list.

I love just shopping in a grocery store with no rhyme or reason, but it almost always leads to a few impulse buys that end up uneaten because they’re ridiculous, or eaten too fast because they’re absolute garbage. You can always deviate from the list if the spirit moves you, but having one on hand makes life a lot easier, and your shopping a lot more efficient. Need an actual list to get you started? Save this to your phone:

Don’t be afraid of frozen veggies.

OK, this is more of a food tip vs. grocery shopping, but seriously, frozen veggies are as nutritious as fresh, and a lot cheaper and more shelf stable. So if notice that you often chuck rotted fruit or veggies, get mostly frozen instead.

Go at weird hours.

I’m a fan of the 8AM on Tuesday or 7PM on Sunday grocery shop. If you have to go straight to work from an early grocery run, get a good cooler to store cold stuff, and buy those frozen veggies as backup ice packs for meat!

Don’t ‘ideal self’ shop and end up making your eating situation worse.

This sounds counter intuitive, but be realistic about your shopping needs for who you are right now. You may be thinking ‘this is the week I eliminate all processed food from my diet,’ but somehow, that often also falls on a week when you’re planning to do a huge amount of training and you end up starving because there’s not a carb to be found at home. If you’re hoping to shift your eating to the healthier, do it via your groceries, but do it gradually. Make sure you’re not skimping on food at the grocery store only to end up with takeout three nights a week because you can’t stomach the idea of another salad. The goal is to make putting a decent meal together at home easy and simple, not stressful and unpleasant!

Walk or ride for small shops.

Forgot something at the store, or there’s a less-than-healthy snack you’re really craving? If you’re close enough to reasonably walk or ride to the store, set the rule that outside of your weekly shop, you only hit the grocery store by bike or on foot. Bonus movement, and you have to think carefully about whether you really need the item!


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