The key to healthy eating…is healthy grocery shopping

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How can you possibly control your cravings at home if you paid for all of the temptations surrounding you?

It seems like common sense, but: if you buy healthy food, you’re more likely to eat healthy food.

If you force yourself to behave for the hour or so you’re wandering around Trader Joe’s, you’ll deal with a lot less of the stress, temptation and guilty snacking you inevitably face when you’re hungry at home.

Of course, you can always eat out or order in, but that’s a separate question of resisting but also understanding that both you and your wallet will be better off if you learn to control your impulsive urges.

Here are a few guidelines for being a smart grocery shopper:

Don’t go to the grocery store hungry

If you go in with food in your stomach, you’ll have a clearer mind. And it’s important to think with your head, not with your stomach.

Make a grocery list

I like to list out all of the major food groups I need to hit. I’m constantly in need of fresh fruits and veggies, and some of my favorites include apples, bananas, broccoli and cauliflower. Super basic, I know, but these just work for me, and I have fool-proof, easy ways for prepping them.

I’ve found a balance between trying unfamiliar and new foods and opting for what I’m familiar with. Inspiration for the list comes from food videos or recipes I find online, as well as staples that I know I’ll eat without having to think twice about.

Make sure to be realistic and include a decent amount of favorite foods that you genuinely enjoy, no matter the fat content or calorie count. Some of my favorites include: Talenti gelato and freezer waffles.

STICK TO THE LIST

Easier said when done, I know. But when you see that bag of delicious looking chips or whatever in the aisle, just remind yourself that later when you’re at home, you won’t even miss it because you’ll have other things you know you’ll enjoy.

Walk around the sides of the store

If you picture any grocery store that you’re familiar with, the fresh food is always around the edges. On one side are the produce and baked goods, along the others run the dairy products, meat and fish, etc. The chips, the drinks, the canned foods and the sweets are mainly in the aisles.

Prep yo food

When you get back from the store, if you have a few minutes, prep some of what you bought so that it can serve as a ready-to-go snack for when your next snack attack strikes. Chop some watermelon, wash and cut up some carrots…

We often reach for unhealthy, packaged goods because they’re just more convenient, so having something ready to go means you’ll be more inclined to reach for it instead of…cookies.

You don’t need to prepare all of the food to the end, but getting some of the steps done ahead of time means that when you’re getting ready to eat, you’ll be happier about pulling a healthy meal together if, let’s say, 1/2 of the prep is already done.

In conclusion…

I don’t have a lot of technical advice when it comes to eating healthy. I mean, I do, but I feel like adopting a more insightful approach is the first successful step. Of course, ‘healthy eating’ means something different to everyone, but an enduring and long-term eating plan involves finding a balance between what’s good and what’s good for you.

I’ve started to grocery shop more thoughtfully, and the results have been evident. I’ve recognized the misconception that healthy eating starts in your kitchen, because actually, it starts in your grocery store.

Now, if I could only do something about my late night snack binges…

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