10 Tips for Shopping & Preparing Food


Picture A simple Asian salad, with salmon, nuts and oranges, and a soy vinaigrette dressing. Delicious. * This is part of a year-long series called “52 Weeks to Eating better than Ever”. Click on the side bar for more information and to read the previous essays.

As we wind down this series, let’s cover some shopping habits you should try to install.  Read this list a few times and internalize these things so they become second nature to you.  They may not seem like a big deal, but taken together they make a huge impact.
1) The outside aisles are the best.
Most of the high calorie, processed, and unnecessary junk food is on the inside aisles of a grocery store.  If you prioritize and stay focused on the outside of a store, you will make better purchase decisions, eating better and saving money.
2) Fewer choices equals better results.  
The more choices you have, the more complicated and stressful things become.  Simplify in every way possible.  Go to smaller stores, buy fewer things.  Cut out certain foods.  
3) Throw out the sodas, fried food, sweets, and high-glycemic processed carbs.
This one is similar to number 2, food that is out of sight will be out of mind, and easier to avoid.  Get rid of it
4) Pick one day per week, like Sunday afternoon, or Monday evening, to prepare the food for the week.
If you can get ahead of the curve, and have healthy food on hand, you will a) eat less b) eat out less and save money and, c) consume more high nutrient foods (versus empty calories).
5) Buy in bulk. 
If you buy in bulk, and prepare foods ahead of time, you will have healthy snacks on hand and be able to spend less time going back and forth to the grocery store. And you will also save money.  
6) Use the freezer.Frozen food has been found to be almost as nutritious as fresh food.  By having frozen foods on hand, you can prepare healthy meals in very little time.  
7) Buy off brand foods.
By using off brands, you’ll get in the habit of becoming more aware of food choices.  Most of the major grocery store brands have their own off label, even in the organic section.  Same as buying in bulk, you likely will eat healthier and save money.  
8) Don’t go the grocery store hungry.  At least have a glass of water and some nuts beforehand. 
Out of sight, out of mind.  We have to learn to keep the junk food out of the house and we do this by not buying it in the first place.  If you go to the store hungry, you’ll make poor choices and buy way too much.  
9) Use meal planning software or programs if need be, or create your own meal plans.
There are many excellent programs (Myfitnesspal, Weight Watchers, Cooking Light, Real Simple) out there you can use for meal planning.   They will give you a detailed list of calories and nutrients for certain meals, as well as what to buy at the store.  

10) Keep a grocery list and stick with it.  
Keep a list going all the time of what you need.  Don’t go to the store without a list.  If you do, you’ll forget things and end up making poor choices, or not be able to cook healthy meals in a tasty way.  

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