If I were to say shopping to you what would you think about? Most men would groan. Women, I think, would go to one of two places…the mall and shopping for fun or the supermarket not because they like it, but because they need to go.
I remember as a kid thinking that the greatest job would be the checkout girl. There were no scanners back then, but you got to see what everyone else eats and check out food that you didn’t know what it was and ask how the customers cooked it. Now with scanners, the fun is somewhat gone unless you go to a store where they still scan for you and especially if they bag for you. You get to have conversations about food. How fun is that. Well, sometimes the trip to the grocery store is not fun at all.
We have become a society that seems to shop on a daily or nearly daily basis. What do you want to eat tonight, and is it easy to cook and prepare. Rushing home from work we are already hungry, cranky, and you know that there is a ‘hangry’ mob waiting for you. So the meals are quick and therefore not thought out as much as they should be. There must be an easier way to get this part of the day done. Lets look at a few options that may make things a little easier and therefore healthier.
- Unfortunately in order for the shopping to get done without spending the whole rest of your wallet and the rest of your evening, you need to spend a little time planning. Unavoidable but true.
- Something what I try and do is plan out my meals for a week or at least a few days at a time. If I know what I want to cook later in the week, those items can make it to my list as I am thinking about it.
- The list itself. We all know that you shouldn’t go without one. Yeah, yeah I know too, but who has time to make one and then who remembers to bring it. I have a great app called Workflowy It’s free! I always try to find free. It is a list app and that is all it does. But the thing I like about it most is that I can have it on my computer at home, on my phone, ipad, my kids can have the list too. So as I am thinking about recipes, I add it to the ‘shopping’ list. Because I always seem to have my phone with me, I open the app, and check my list. I have even had somebody at home adding to my list as I am shopping so that I don’t forget stuff.
- Without the list, I tend to hit every aisle. The good and the bad, I end up getting stuff I don’t need and get too excited about the ‘fun’ food that I shouldn’t be getting
- The health experts will tell you that almost everything that you need is on the outside edges of the store. Nextime you are in, stop for a moment and look. Produce, dairy, meat, bakery are usually all out there in the open. So, try to do most of your shopping there. Obviously there are other things in the middle that you will want too, but next time look at what they are; pasta, canned veggies, frozen quick meals, dreaded snacks, sauces, and crackers and pickles.
There was a time where we only got paid once a month. With three kids at home, it was tough to budget for a month’s worth of groceries but I did for a while. Trying to get back to the store for only milk and produce throughout the month taught me a lot about shopping. One thing for sure was that when I bought treats for the kids and they ate them right away, we all learned how long the month really was. I only bought that stuff with the ‘big’ shop so either the kids learned to ration the treats or go without them. Its not a bad lesson to learn.
- Another thing that I try to do is plan meals that I like to have for leftovers. If this week is crazy, then pick up stuff for great reheat meals. We are not great for eating leftovers, unless they are better that way, chilli, lasagna, chicken breasts for salads and wraps.
But the most important thing is to make sure you don’t go to the store hungry. When you are hungry you tend to graze. You look at impulse food, you look with your stomach, and look at snack food.
Lastly, enjoy the trip to the store. If you go with a grumpy attitude, you will miss out on the new and different things in the store. You will miss out on new fruit, what is in season, the latest products, the chance to try new stuff. If you must go with a ‘less than’ attitude, then just make it as quick as you can and go back when you can browse.
As a child my family's menu consisted of two choices: Take it or Leave it.