I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again – healthy living is a lifestyle, not a diet. The first important step towards adopting a healthy lifestyle is to stock your fridge and pantry with wholesome, nourishing foods. If you don’t buy processed, nutritionally void foods, then you and your family are less likely to eat them.
My top 10 tips for healthy grocery shopping will help to get you started….
1. Now more than ever, there are so many dietary philosophies. But what ever your persuasion, first and foremost think SLOW food. That is Seasonal – Locally grown – Organic (if possible) – Whole (un-refined) foods. These are the foods that serve you and your families health best – if it’s in season, it’s good for you. You can read more about why SLOW food is SO important and why it is the core of my food philosophy here.
2. Shop at your local farmers market which is where you will find the best quality, in season fresh produce (often at the very best price). Best of all you can often try before you buy and this is a fantastic way to get kids interested in and trying new foods. An idea I love, is that the kids get to pick a ‘new’ fruit or vegetable each week and it’s your challenge to come up with a delicious way to eat it.
3. Think about buying in bulk. Ordering dry goods like nuts, seeds and gluten-free flours in bulk is a great way to save money on these often expensive items (I personally shop online here at The Wholefood Collective). It is a lot cheaper than buying packet by packet at the supermarket (often organic bulk foods are cheaper than non-organic supermarket packets) and I love the convenience of having my shopping delivered to my door.
4. If you’re shopping at the supermarket, spend most of your time on the periphery. That is, the majority of your produce should come from the outer isles – fresh fruit and veggies (70-80% of your shop), meat/dairy if you eat it and toiletries. Spend as little time in the middle aisles as possible.
5. Get to know your butcher. Make sure the meat you buy is organic or 100% grass fed and finished, this is the healthiest choice. Avoid feedlot or grain-fed meat. Also, don’t overlook cheaper cuts of meat which are often the tastiest and most nourishing. For more on choosing the very best protein, click here.
6. Try to shop with a list and never shop when you are hungry. Stick to what’s on the list and avoid impulse buys that you will later regret. This is easier achieved on a full stomach! If you find this tough, perhaps consider online shopping.
7. Also shop additive smart and avoid foods with a lengthy ingredient list. If you don’t recognise an ingredient, chances are, nor will your body. Real food doesn’t have ingredients, real food IS ingredients.
8. Please include as much variety in your shopping as possible. Variety increases the amount of nourishment you derive from your diet and reduces the risk of developing intolerance. Try a range of wheat-free grains and seeds in your diet such as quinoa, amaranth, millet and chia. Mix up the types of fruit, vegetables and protein you eat each meal.
9. Also develop a shopping system. For example, a once a week trip to the farmers market, once a fortnight for the supermarket and once a month bulk nut/seed/flour order (I shop here). This saves time, money and sanity!
This is my exact shopping routine but develop a system that suits you. I can’t tell you how many patients I have worked with who tell me they have no time for cooking a healthy meal, yet they spend time shopping almost daily.
My healthy and comprehensive pantry list may help some of you, click here to check it out.
I buy all of my nuts, seeds, flours, gluten-free pasta, grains and legumes from HERE.
10. Make sure you get your kids involved in shopping. Even toddlers can help out with shopping for food and doing so, will educate them about food and motivate them to try new foods. Choose age appropriate tasks like picking the biggest potatoes or counting how many apples go into the bag and have fun with it. You may be surprised how less stressful shopping with toddlers is when they are involved in the process. I have more tips for getting kids involved and interested in eating healthy food here.
Lastly, only buy what you want to eat – if you keep mostly whole foods in your home, then that’s what you’ll eat. I hope this overview helps you to streamline your health plan.