It can be a daunting task trying to navigate the aisles at your local grocery, especially if you just started a new meal plan and are looking to implement some healthy lifestyle changes. One simple rule of thumb (with a handful of exceptions depending on your plan) is to “Stick to the Perimeter” of the store. When you first walk in to most grocery stores, you are greeted with vibrant colors and fragrances of fresh produce. This is my favorite part of the store and I absolutely love taking my time to read where the fruits and vegetables I’m interested in purchasing are grown, harvested, imported from, etc. I personally prefer organic produce and will go out of my way to find it. Do I eat organic 100% of the time? No, I do not. But I make an effort, more so now than ever before. Many grocery store chains offer organic options, if the market is not an organic market like Whole Foods, you just have to seek it out.
Pic below is from Mrs. Green’s Natural Market… this franchise carries 100% Organic Produce in their locations. Takes the guessing work out of the equation when shopping there.
Even Costco has a great selection of Organic products, and at very competitive prices. You just need to be patient and take your time going through each aisle and reading labels in the produce, meat, and dairy sections.
In many stores I’ve been to, the fish market and butcher are next in line, if you stay close to the outer perimeter of the store. Just after that is the bakery, which may not be totally off-limits if you have multi grain or whole wheat bread in your program. Some stores may even carry sprouted grain bread and/or rice bread here. Again, you just have to take your time and read labels. Try not to get too distracted by the muffins, doughnuts, and scones though… while they look delicious in the case, I’m fairly certain most programs will not have a pastry listed as an approved choice in the plan. Deep breathe, put the blinders on, keep it moving!
Next up we have the dairy section, which in my local grocery store is huge. There are so many different types of milk to choose from… cow’s milk, goat’s milk, coconut milk, soy milk, almond milk, lactose free milk, organic milk. Don’t even get me started on all of the different types of yogurt, cheese, butter, orange juice, and last but not least eggs.
At this point, as you make your way around the perimeter, you might have a cooler or two with beer… and your right back near the registers. Now, some of you might have things like brown rice, oatmeal, coffee, tea, seltzer, rice cakes… those are typically located within the aisles. But I warn you… do not pull anything off the shelf that is not on your approved list of food choices. It’s not even worth the aggravation of reading the label and facing the fact that you just can’t have it. Stick to those aisles and most of your shopping, if not all of it, is done.
Hopefully this helps you WORK OUT some of the confusion of grocery shopping… Thanks for stopping by!