I find that if I can get it right at the grocery store, chances are, I am going to have a much healthier week. These are my tried and true tips for staying on track. They aren't revolutionary, but I promise if you stick to them, you will find more consistent success with your nutrition and health goals.
1. Designate a shopping day and make a plan
For me, this is Sunday- every Sunday. It's become my routine. If I don't go with a plan, I am much more likely to end up with unhealthier things in my cart, or not enough ingredients to get me through the week. In our house, that usually translates to eating out more, which means more money spent and less healthy meals eaten. So every Sunday, over my morning coffee, I take about 15 minutes to plan meals for the week and write a corresponding grocery list. If I'm needing inspiration, I peruse my Pinterest food boards for new things to try.
2. Keep a running list of your favorite healthy meals
Life gets crazy and sometimes the last thing we want to do is come up with meals for 7 days of the week. I keep a running list of heathy household favorites, as I can't always remember that the turkey chili was a hit with my husband. That way, if I'm in a pinch, I look at the list, pick 5 or 6 past home runs and add them to my list. Done.
3. Don't go to the store on an empty stomach
Again, this isn't a groundbreaking piece of advice, but holds true. If I go hungry, I end up one, spending more money, and two, not making the best choices because I am not as focused. Just don't do it.
4. Your grocery cart should represent how you want your plate to look
If you follow the My Plate method, your plate should be half vegetables/fruits, 1/4 carbohydrate and 1/4 protein. So, if this is how you want to eat, the ratios in your grocery cart should look about the same. Simple as that.
5. Size it up
Before you check out, take a good long look at what's in your cart and ask yourself, "are the foods I'm about to buy going to help me or prevent me from achieving my goals?" The food you bring into your home is what you are going to eat. Resisting temptation for 45 minutes at the store is much easier than resisting the chocolate chip cookies every time you open your pantry.
6. Food Prep:
If you know that you're not up for chopping vegetables after your 10 hour work day, or that you're not going to have the discipline to pack your lunch in the morning, food prep is essential. When you get home with your grocery haul, set aside an hour to dice those carrots, make your turkey wraps, bag your grapes, marinate your proteins, whatever it is that will make life a little easier for you during the week. It may be tough to start this habit, but when you get home at 8:00 pm on Wednesday night after a long work day on 5 hours sleep, you'll be glad you did it AND you'll be much less likely to hit up the In-N-Out drive-thru on the way home when you know you have things ready and waiting for you at home.
Pick and implement a few or all of these habits for your next grocery trip. I'd love to hear any other tips or tricks that you use to help you stay on track. Thanks for reading!