Shopping can be a challenge, especially if you are trying to dodge bullets and not step on land mines. When I first started making massive changes to my diet, I would find myself spending lots of extra time reading labels. However, as time went on, I became able to dart in and out of a store in record time with only healthy ingredients in hand.
Here are a couple of tips for shopping.
· Find a “mega” health food store where you can stock up on the things you can’t find closer to home.
· Keep your basics/staples stocked. There is nothing worse than deciding what you are going to cook only to find out you are out of half of the ingredients.
· Buy fruit and vegetables for 2-3 days, don’t stock up. To ensure you get the freshest produce and that you won’t waste money by watching it spoil on your counter or in your refrigerator, don’t buy more than you can eat in a couple of days.
· Shop around the outside of the store because that is typically where the good stuff is. When you get into the inner bowels of the store that is where you will find the less healthy, pre-packaged, processed crap.
· Build your own resource guide. Start keeping a list of what items (brand name specific) you like, where you can find them, and where they are cheapest. This will save you time when making your meal choices for the week.
· Get to know your store and department managers. They are sometimes hard to find but if you have questions or need assistance, they are happy to help. If there is an item you really love, ask if they can stock it. Sometimes they are willing to custom order items for you.
· If money is a concern, use the Pesticides in Produce Wallet Guide that you can print out from www.foodnews.org. This will tell you what produce you really must buy organic and which ones may be ok to buy conventionally.
· Keep a shopping list somewhere handy so as you run out of items or think of something you need, you can write it down. I just use a sticky note on the refrigerator and if I am going to the store, it just grab it and put a new one up.
· Order products online. www.amazon.com has a lot of great organic and natural products, especially for stocking your pantry. I use www.uswellnessmeats.com for grass-fed beef and www.vitalchoice.com for fresh Alaskan salmon.
· Read labels! As mentioned above, this may take a little longer but you don’t want to get it home and find that it contains less than desirable ingredients. You’re better off finding out at the store.
· At the deli counter ask for them to print out the ingredient label for whatever you are ordering. For the most part, deli meats are not healthy. BUT if you are going to buy it, stay away from MSG, nitrates, nitrites, artificial preservatives, by-products, etc. Many of the flavored/spiced lunchmeats contain lots of additives. Stick with the plain variety if you are buying it. Some organic brands are Applegate Farms and Wilshire Farms.
· Write out your shopping list as the store is arranged so that you can move systematically through the store without having to back track. I can see the aisles in my sleep now. I am constantly directing lost sheep around the store.