10 Grocery Shopping Rules for Optimum Health & Performance
Yes, believe it or not, there are some “rules” to follow EVERY time you go shopping, these will keep you from purchasing items that will keep you from making wise food choices and ultimately undermining you’re eating & drinking habits. Keep in mind that you eat for only one purpose: to fuel your life in the healthiest way possible. Following these rules will ensure that you have exactly what you need, how much you need and avoid having to throw anything away because it has spoiled (this will save you money too!).
Shopping Rule #1: DON’T SHOP ON AN EMPTY STOMACH
Literally eat a high protein & fat snack (protein & fat are the ONLY nutrients that satisfy hunger) prior to walking in (i.e. apple and cheese stick, banana and almond butter).
Shopping Rule #2: PREPARE A SHOPPING LIST & ONLY PURCHASE WHAT IS ON YOUR LIST
If you have to purchase something this isn’t on your list but a necessary ingredient to a recipe, meal or snack then add the item to your shopping list for future reference. The key is to create & maintain a consistent shopping list (you will notice that you eat 18-25 of the same items every week) to carry with you to your farmers market or grocery store every time you go shopping.
[NOTE: your energy levels & performance results will help you determine if you should keep an item on your weekly shopping list. If your energy is high & your performance results are good, you know your food items are working and vice versa.]
Shopping Rule #3: SHOP 2 TO 3 TIMES A WEEK
Shopping two to three times per week will ensure that you have ripe, high quality fruits, vegetables and lean sources of protein readily available. Ideally, set your personal schedule to permit you visiting the store on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Shopping on Sunday allows you the opportunity to go home and prep, pack and store your food items for Monday – Wednesday. Wednesday allows you to purchase, prep and store for Thursday and Friday. Friday provides you the opportunity to purchase, prep and store what you will need for an active Saturday and Sunday. As we will discuss later, it is the lack of availability that keeps individuals from eating properly verses the lack of desire. If it isn’t available, you are forced to lean on convenience and you find yourself eating out of a drive through window or out of a package.
Shopping Rule #4: SHOP SOLO
Shop solo – this will keep others from influencing your shopping efforts. This will eliminate the impulsive purchases and save you money.
Shopping Rule #5: SHOP THE PERIMETER OF THE STORE
Shopping the perimeter of your grocery store is where you will find fresh/raw food items. With the exception of small ingredients (salt, pepper, olive oil, etc.), there is nothing in the center of the store that you need to be eating. This is NOT to be confused regarding the dairy case – especially the organic items. Dairy items can be a good source of protein, calcium, etc. for those that are not lactose intolerant.
Shopping Rule #6: PURCHASE MORE THAN YOU NEED
Purchase one or two more items than what is on your shopping list – especially your fruits and vegetables. If you think you will consume 10 oranges, purchase 12. This will keep you from running out. If you find that every three days you have two to three items left, then cut back. But as a general rule of thumb, it is better to want it and not have it verses wanting it and not having it available. Running out should be avoided at all costs – your health is worth it.
Shopping Rule #7: USE A SHOPPING CART VERSUS A BASKET
If the basket becomes full (or heavy) you will be tempted to cut back on the amount of real-raw food that you are purchasing – this undermines Rule #6. If you are purchasing fruits and vegetables in bulk, you will have numerous bags; putting them in a shopping cart will minimize the amount of damage to your items because you are not “stacking” them in your basket.
Shopping Rule #8: LABELS SHOULD ONLY CONTAIN 1 INGREDIENT
When you pick up an item, stop and read the ingredients listed on the label. If it has more than one ingredient, put the item back on the shelf. Remember, single ingredient packages represent an ingredient that will be used with your snack and meal preparations. If the item has more than one ingredient, read shopping rule #9.
Shopping Rule #9: EAT ONLY WHAT YOU CAN PRONOUNCE
If you can’t pronounce it, don’t purchase–much less eat it! This shopping rule is actually eliminated when you implement shopping rule #8; however, if you must purchase something that has more than one ingredient (we all have weak moments & time restraints) you should be able to pronounce each ingredient in the product (the Braap Bar is a perfect example of a convenient, real food snack bar). If you can’t pronounce the ingredient Trimethylxanthine, it is safe to assume that it isn’t good for you to consume!
Shopping Rule #10: UPDATE YOUR SHOPPING LIST
Before checking out, take a moment to review and update (with items you forgot to write down before you left for the store) your shopping list. This is also your last opportunity to verify that you have everything on your shopping list in your shopping cart. Not only will this eliminate you having to make another time consuming trip back to the store for one or two items, it will also eliminate the need to run through a drive through because you didn’t have the necessary elements to prep, prepare and pack your snacks and meals.