Prioritizing healthy grocery shopping habits is just one way you can cultivate your overall health and wellness. It may seem daunting at first to change your grocery shopping habits but you’ll save money and time in the long run while also being introduced to delicious, new-to-you foods.

Isn’t healthy food expensive?

With the rise of buzzwords being included on food packaging like organic or non-GMO, there has been a noticeable increase in price on certain ingredients. Fear not, it’s entirely possible to shop for healthy, nourishing foods on a budget. Here’s how:

  • Join your favorite grocery store’s reward program. They often will send you personalized coupons based on the items you purchase most frequently and if you accrue enough rewards, you can redeem them for free grocery items.
  • Buy in bulk and pay attention to the cost per ounce or pound. The larger bag or box might appear more expensive on its face, but you’ll save money in the long run by not having to replenish your pantry as often. A two-pound bag of brown rice may cost just over $2 compared to the five-pound bag at almost $6, but the cost per ounce will reveal that the five-pound bag is truly less expensive, i.e. $0.09 per ounce for the smaller bag versus $0.07 for the larger. A caveat is to only buy foods in bulk that you know you can get through before they expire. Buying a case of apples may not be prudent if you don’t see yourself eating them every day.
  • Go for the generic store brand rather than the brand name, especially for pantry staples that can quickly add up.
  • Try bags of frozen fruits and veggies rather than fresh. This way you won’t have to worry about the food spoiling before you’re able to use it, and it cuts down on prep time you must do before dinner. Frozen mixed berries are great for quick smoothies, and a bag of frozen peas and carrots can be quickly added to fried rice for an easy and healthy lunch. An added bonus is that frozen fruits and vegetables are picked and bagged during their peak season, so you are still able to benefit from their fresh taste and key nutrients.

How can I set healthy habits on a busy schedule?

  • Choose a day of the week that works best for you to go grocery shopping and commit to only going shopping on that day. Add to your grocery list throughout the week so that you have a complete list when you are ready to shop. Not only will this save time because you aren’t going out of your way every couple of days to run to the store, but you’ll save money by reducing the opportunity for impulse buys or picking up things you don’t really want or need.
  • Meal prep on your day off. You can cook your meats and veggies right after you buy them, which reduces the risk of food waste due to spoilage. Meal prepping also saves time during the week since you’ll have microwave, or oven-ready meals waiting for you.
  • If meal prepping isn’t your style, creating meal plans for each week can still help you stick to your healthy habits while saving time and money. Whether you’re outlining your kids’ school lunches or what you’re having for dinner every night, planning in advance will give you a clear idea of exactly which foods you need to shop for that week.

What should I look for at the grocery store?

  • Whole grain pasta, bread and crackers
  • Frozen fruits and veggies
  • Sparkling water instead of soda
  • Healthier cooking oils like avocado or coconut
  • Fresh or frozen instead of fruit-flavored gummy snacks
  • Speaking of fruit, shop for fruit that’s in-season. It will be less expensive, more nutritious and exponentially more flavorful
  • Nutrient-dense carbs like lentils, barely, quinoa, buckwheat and oats, which all have more value than the average bag of white rice
  • Fish that contain healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids, including salmon and tuna
  • Plain Greek yogurt rather than individual cups of flavored yogurt

What are some quick tips for sticking to my healthy habits?

  • Don’t go shopping on an empty stomach, you will be tempted to impulse shop!
  • Stick to the perimeter of the grocery store, where you’ll find produce, dairy products, fresh bread and protein.
  • Make a grocery list ahead of time and familiarize yourself with the layout of your favorite grocery store. You’ll be more focused on shopping the items on your list, and if you have a general idea of where each item is you’ll be less likely to roam the junk food aisles.
  • With some products it’s best to choose the one with the least amount of ingredients. Peanut butter, for example, can be loaded with hydrogenated vegetable oil and artificial sugar. Natural peanut butter contains only peanuts and salt, which is all you really need for delicious peanut butter.
  • Don’t feel like you have to limit yourself, or like you can’t buy your favorite snack food. Restricting yourself from your favorite foods may discourage you from maintaining healthy grocery shopping and eating habits. If you love to snack on a handful of chips after dinner, opt for a bag that contains a smaller serving rather than a “family” or “party” size.
  • Rather than purchasing pre-cut fruit or bagged salads, reach for whole, individual ingredients. It does save time to purchase pre-assembled meals, but there is a markup for the convenience factor. The pre-packaged meals and ingredients have also likely been assembled and sealed a day or two prior, so buying whole ingredients ensures you are receiving the freshest quality.

Real Recovery is committed to helping you live your most healthy life. Call today at 855-363-7325 for more information.