Get ahead of the grocery game and plan your menu before setting foot in the supermarket.
If you are a mom or a dad who knows how important it is to introduce your families to healthier home-cooked meals, trying to sort out the good choices from the bad choices as you walk through the supermarket can seem like being lost in a maze--flashy packages make confusing health claims, and kid-tempting treats line the aisles. What's a health-conscious shopper to do? We sat down with Ruby Schuler, RD, registered dietitian at Queen of the Valley Wellness Center, to discuss the benefits of strategic grocery shopping. Here’s part one of our three-part series. Jump to part 2 or part 3.
Q. What can families do before setting foot in the supermarket to help them put healthy foods in their cart?
A. There are three big things I recommend to make your trip to the supermarket a successful, healthier excursion.
1. Plan your meals.
The number one thing I recommend to people is to shop prepared. This means planning your meals for the week so you know what ingredients and foods to purchase. Involve your children in meal selection (and preparation) too, as they will be more likely to try new things. This will help you avoid being a short order cook!
Keep your meals interesting by choosing a variety of food groups, or take a favorite food and find ways to make it healthier. If you get bored with your meal selections, you are less likely to stick to the plan. Make healthy eating a priority and it will become second nature to you.
2. Make a list
Once you’ve planned out your meals, make a shopping list and stick to it. Lists are a great way to avoid the effects of grocery store psychology. It also helps save time and money. Grocery stores typically stock the most purchased items like meats, eggs and dairy in the back of the store. It’s a tricky, but very effective, method of getting customers to walk past enticing displays and packaging.
3. Eat before you shop
Always, always eat before you shop. When people shop hungry, they tend to be less discerning about their purchases. Eating a light meal or healthy snack before grocery shopping can save you money, and ensures you stick to your list.
Bring your healthy shopping list and read part 2 of our series to learn how to smartly navigate the temptation-filled supermarket aisles.
This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional's instructions.