By John Krueger (About the Author)
As most everyone should know, the easiest (and cheapest) way to success on your fitness journey is by purchasing and cooking your own meals as opposed to eating meals out. After making the conscious decision to go to the grocery store, you walk in and suddenly feel overwhelmed with options, unsure of what to buy. Here are a few tips to make your shopping trips simpler and keep you on track with your goals. For tips on how to save when you grocery shop, be sure to check out one of our other articles here.
1. Focus your efforts on the perimeter of store.
This is where you will find things like produce, meat, and dairy. Sticking to whole natural foods is key because they provide more nutrient value than any processed food.
2. Avoid the candy, chip, and calorie filled drinks isle.
Keeping in mind that anything in these isles wont do anything to positively help you reach your goals. By avoiding these isles all together you also avoid the risk of temptation.
3. Steer clear from the freezer section the best you can.
Frozen produce are the most nutritious items found in the this section. Stay away from frozen meals and meats, as well as avoiding the temptation of all the junk found here (pizzas, frozen meals, ice cream etc).
4. Purchase in bulk when available
By buying the staples of your diet in bulk like meats, produce, certain carb sources, and eggs you will save money and also fill in a large chunk of your grocery haul. Just be sure to not buy too much of things that are perishable.
Bonus Tip: Learn how to read a nutritional label.
This is key because it is easy to walk through a store and get hooked by the marketing/packaging of certain items labeled as "low fat", "fat free", "low sugar", and all the other false claims products use. By learning to read a food label, you can easily differentiate the real healthier options vs the items claimed to be. Make sure to pay attention to things like calories, serving size and servings per container, protein, fat, and carbohydrate content, as well as sugar. By learning things like serving size and servings per container you can calculate the true nutrition of the package instead of being deceived by the label. A good example of this is a Lenny and Larry's cookie which claims to be a healthy alternative to normal cookies, a simple look at the nutrition label shows only 180 calories, around 25 grams of carbs, around 5 fat, 8 protein and 15 sugars, not bad right? Well by learning to read a label you notice that there are 2 servings per cookie, so that delicious 'healthy' cookie was actually 360 calories, 50 carbs, 10 fat, 16 protein and a whopping 30 grams of sugar. For comparison, that's more calories, and sugar then 6 Oreo cookies, and boasts less nutritional value than a entire pint of Halo Top ice cream. Please be aware the true amount of things when picking out things on a shelf, and don't get fooled by good marketing.