I have to admit. I don’t like grocery shopping. I LOVE to eat but grocery shopping? Ugh… anything else pleassseee. It’s a weekly chore that I don’t usually look forward to. The shelves are lined with product after product. There are so many labels to read and…most notably, I’m inherently an in-the-moment fly-by eater. When I’m hungry I will look for food. This doesn’t work well now that I have a family so I decided to come up with some golden rules that I follow before I go grocery shopping and when I’m in the store.
Firstly, don’t go shopping when you’re hungry! People…ahem… fly-by eaters… tend to overbuy and make unhealthy choices when walking the aisles on an empty stomach.
Shop prepared! Think ahead for the week and decide what it is you’d like to feed your family. What do you have planned for the week? Is there enough time to cook that 4 hour meal or do you need something that you can whip together quickly? I use a list app on my phone and the night before I go shopping I sit down with my husband and plan our meals. He’s the chef in the family… yes, I’m one lucky lady. Any staple items that we always want to have in the house are added to the list throughout the week as needed. With a list I’m able to stick to what we need and I’m in and out of the grocery store in 20 minutes tops. Ah, the glory.
This next point goes hand in hand with the first. It is best to consume produce fresh versus weeks after sitting in your refrigerator. Buy what you need for the week and try not to over purchase. Just make sure your shopping list isn’t like a 5 year old's Christmas wish list.
Shop the perimeter of the store. This is where the majority of fresh items are stored and helps you steer clear of processed foods.
When buying produce avoid conventional items that fall on the Dirty Dozen list and opt for organic instead. The latest Dirty Dozen list can be found here on the Environmental Working Group’s website. Buying organic is always better but if you refer to the Clean Fifteen list you can find produce that have very little pesticide residue found and are considered safe for consumption.
Know your produce PLU codes (price look up codes) and avoid GMOs (genetically modified organisms). Conventional produce that was grown using modern farming techniques and the use of pesticides will have a 4 digit PLU. Organic produce have 5 digit PLUs and always begin with a 9 - “nine let’s dine”. GMO produce have 5 digits as well but should begin with an 8… “eight is bait”. I have yet to find a 5 digit code that begins with an 8 but I am always on the lookout.
Only buy wild caught fish and avoid farmed fish. Fish labeled as organic may only be slightly better than conventionally farmed fish. And I emphasize slightly. Organic farmed fish are still raised in cages there’s just less fish per cage. Organic fish are still fed synthetic vitamins and minerals, which are often bonded in wheat flour. And organic fish can still be treated with the same chemicals conventionally farmed fish are treated with.
Do you have any tips to share? I’d love to read them in the comments as I’m always on the lookout to further improve my shopping technique! Happy grocery shopping everyone!