Getting the best foods into your system starts with having only the best foods in your kitchen. And that starts with smart grocery shopping. Here’s how.
Healthy living is a lifestyle, not a diet. The first important step towards adopting a healthy lifestyle is to stock your fridge and pantry with wholesome, nourishing foods. If you don’t buy processed, nutritionally void foods, then you and your family are less likely to eat them.
Georgia’s Top 10 tips for healthy grocery shopping
1. Whatever your dietary requirements, first and foremost think SLOW food. That is Seasonal – Locally grown – Organic (if possible) – Whole (unrefined) foods. These are the foods that serve you and your family’s health best.
2. Shop at your local farmers’ market which is where you will find the best quality, in-season fresh produce (often at the very best price). Best of all you can often try before you buy and this is a fantastic way to get kids interested in and trying new foods.
3. If you’re shopping at the supermarket, spend most of your time on the periphery. That is, the majority of your produce should come from the outer isles – fresh fruit and veggies (70-80 per cent of your shop), meat/dairy if you eat it and toiletries.
4. Get to know your butcher. Make sure the meat you buy is organic or 100 per cent grass fed and finished – this is the healthiest choice. Avoid feedlot or grain-fed meat. Also, don’t overlook cheaper cuts of meat that are often the tastiest and most nourishing.
5. Try to shop with a list and never shop when you are hungry. Stick to what’s on the list and avoid impulse buys that you will later regret. This is easier achieved on a full stomach! If you find this tough, perhaps consider online shopping.
6. Shop additive-smart and avoid foods with a lengthy ingredient list. If you don’t recognise something as an ingredient, chances are, nor will your body. Real food doesn’t have ingredients – real food IS ingredients.
7. Think about buying in bulk and stock up on sale items. Ordering dry goods like nuts, seeds and gluten-free flours in bulk is a great way to save money on these often expensive items. It is a lot cheaper than buying packet by packet at the supermarket (often organic bulk foods are even cheaper than non-organic supermarket packets). Perhaps investigate joining or setting up a co-op in your area.
8. Please include as much variety in your shopping as possible. Variety increases the amount of nourishment you derive from your diet and reduces the risk of developing intolerance. Try a range of wheat-free grains and seeds in your diet such as quinoa, amaranth, millet and chia. Mix up the types of fruit, vegetables and protein you eat each meal.
9. Also develop a shopping system. For example, a once a week take a trip to the farmers’ market, once a fortnight to the supermarket and once a month for your bulk nut/seed/flour order. This saves time, money and sanity! This is my exact shopping routine but you need to develop a system that suits you. I can’t tell you how many patients I have worked with who tell me they have no time for cooking a healthy meal, yet they spend time shopping almost daily.
10. Make sure you get your kids involved in shopping. Even toddlers can help out with shopping for food and doing so will educate them about food and motivate them to try new foods. Choose age-appropriate tasks like picking the biggest potatoes or counting how many apples go into the bag and have fun with it. You may be surprised how less stressful shopping with toddlers is when they are involved in the process.