Healthy living really is about creating a practical, sustainable lifestyle. I believe the very 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.
Work on your shopping routine
Many people have routines around exercise or kids activities but they wing it when it comes to shopping and this costs them financially and physically.
An efficient shopping routine will save you an enormous amount of time, money and improve your whole families health by ensuring you have plenty of real food in the house. I encourage you to shop as locally as possible which is cheaper, fresher, more nutritious and more sustainable. You really shouldn’t need to shop more than once a week if you are organised.
Check out my ’10 tips for healthy grocery shopping’ here.
My shopping routine
I’m very fortunate to be surrounded by amazing fresh, local produce. This is my personal routine for keeping my fridge and pantry well stocked with whole foods:
- So I shop for the majority of my produce (fruit, veggies, meat, dairy, olives, eggs, fish) from my local farmers market every Saturday morning (whilst my kids are swimming, gotta love multi-tasking).
- I always buy nuts, seeds, legumes, flours and grains in bulk as it is way cheaper that way. I do this by shopping online every 2-3 months. My favourite place to shop for the best value, freshest produce is The Wholefood Collective. They deliver Australia wide so I spend a lot less time shopping and save loads of money in the process.
- I buy specialty items like organic gelatin and camu camu powder (natural vitamin C) from Changing Habits.
- I buy my toilet paper in bulk online via Who Gives a Crap (toilet paper that fells good for the environment, in-need communities and your bum).
- I buy my and my families personal care products like hair care, toothpaste, make-up and skin care online also at Nourished Life. They have an awesome range of safe, cruelty and toxin-free products. Check out their fabulous loyalty program and receive 15% off your shop when you subscribe.
- I venture to the supermarket for condiments and other bits every 2-3 weeks which feels really good because I’m not a fan of spending time in the supermarket.
- Yes every now an then I miscalculate or forget something and have to pop into my local store, but on the whole I’ve found since planning my week to fit grocery shopping into my lifestyle, I spend way less time shopping which gives me more time for other things I enjoy.
Investigate your produce
Whether you shop at a farmers market or supermarket, spend a little time investigating the produce you are spending your hard earned dollars on. Ultimately it is up to you to ask your suppliers about the source of their produce, how it is grown, harvested and transported. Aim for food that has been grown using the least amount of chemicals, grown as close to where you live as possible.
Ask questions, especially of meats that are advertised as ‘free range’ (they are not always as free as you may think), or if ‘grass fed,’ ask if the animal has been grass fed for 100% of its life (not just the first few months). Yes, it may take a little time to ask the questions and source the best produce available to you, but once you have been through the process, you can relax in understanding what you are consuming. See my resources guide for a comprehensive list of local suppliers and producers in your area.
Ultimately the choice is yours but it is one which shapes the food industry and our food security.
If you shop at a major supermarket
If your primary resource for food shopping is a big supermarket chain, then don’t despair. Just consider shopping for most of your food from the outermost aisles. By that I mean get your fruit, vegetables, fish, meats, dairy produce, cleaning products and toiletries (all from around the perimeter of the supermarket), and briefly, duck down the isles to top up any pantry items (such as oils, condiments, nuts etc).
Also make note of the source of the fresh produce which should always be disclosed (often around the price tag) and stick to Australian produce which is fresher, less contaminated and much more nutritious than overseas produce. Also, choose ‘new season’ produce if possible which is also fresher. Meat should, at least, be free range, grass or pasture raised.
What to buy
Take a look at my comprehensive Healthy Pantry List for a full run down of stocking your pantry full of goodness. You might also find these posts helpful: