ULTIMATE Savvy Guide to Getting Started (Part 2 ~ Grocery Shopping)

Grocery ShoppingA huge part of adopting a new lifestyle is grocery shopping.

Finding local, in-season, fresh foods is certainly becoming easier in some areas, but for many people, the grocery store is where they obtain some or even all of the food for themselves and their families.

Because of this, we need food choices that can be found in any grocery store when we are grocery shopping.

When I first started this journey myself I went grocery shopping armed with a list of items that I was unfamiliar with and food choices I didn’t even know how to prepare.

I ended up totally overwhelmed and couldn’t even find half of what I wanted.

Most of the people who worked in the grocery store had no idea what I was talking about when I asked for help finding something, which didn’t help me feel too confident about the changes I wanted to make!

Instead of arming yourself with a bunch of things you are totally unfamiliar with, start slow, maybe instead of buying a prepared meal you buy the ingredients and make it yourself.

Some of the following tips you may have heard, and many of you may already practice, but they are worth repeating. It is vital for you to keep the basics in mind when you are starting a new lifestyle; everything is new and can be overwhelming.

Basic tips to help make your grocery shopping experience a healthy one:

Plan your meals for the week, and create a list to shop from.

The process starts even before you head to the grocery store, experts say. Before you leave the house, take a few minutes (maybe more until you get used to it) to write out what you need,it saves time in running back to the store for missing ingredients.

Make a grocery list and stick to it.

Keep a running list on the fridge as you run out of items so you can add them to your weekly grocery shopping list, this also saves trips back to the store, and decrease the chance of picking up extra items on impulse.

Shop mostly around the perimeter of the store.
This is where you will find fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, whole grain bread, and dairy.

Read your food labels.

This will help you identify healthier options. Choose “real” foods, such as 100% fruit juice (look for NOT from Concentrate on the label), or 100% whole-grain items with as little processing and as few additives as possible. If you want more salt or sweetener, add it yourself.

Avoid foods that contain more than 10 ingredients (ideally no more than 5), artificial ingredients, or ingredients you can’t pronounce.

Additional Food for thought when grocery shopping:

Most of the info below is from “What to eat” by Marion Nestle

You are “voting with your dollars” every time you make a purchase. Massive marketing efforts have gone into making it more convenient and desirable to purchase some products rather than others, this does not necessarily mean those easy convenient items are better for you or your family, it only means the marketing is working.

Stores gain your loyalty with discounts, point memberships or clubs, they use this to track buying habits which tells them how to lay out the store and advertise, and set prices (refer again to number 1), so consider that the better quality items you are choosing for your family will lead to better prices, advertising, and marketing.

Food companies pay supermarkets “slotting fees” for the shelf space they occupy. The rates are highest for premium, high traffic space, such as the shelves near the cash registers.

Pesticide-free produce may not look as pretty, but if you want fewer pesticides in your body and the bodies of your children, buy organics.


Remember to do your Getting Started Challenge:

Eat regularly-don’t skip meals – this is probably the most important to remember

Drink 6-8 cups of water each day

Increase activity a bit each day

Get support from family and friends

If you splurge, don’t give up – there will always be setbacks, but again this is a new lifestyle so you need to find what you can live with LONG TERM.

In case you missed it, Part 1 is here.

Check out Part 3 here,  I will be covering some of the common concerns I have come across. 

Join the FREE private Savvy Vitality Community on Facebook, I have weekly challenges, tips and recipes to keep you going!

Note: Please remember that these are basic guidelines. Keep your current state in mind, if you have any medical conditions consult with your doctor. Use what you can and ignore the rest, at least for now. 

Lisa Corkum is not a Nutritionist, Registered Dietitian, psychologist or Medical Professional. The information on this website is not intended to  diagnose or replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.