Wednesday Wisdom: Navigating the Grocery Store

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Welcome to Wednesday Wisdom!  At the ripe age of 24, I can’t say I have much “wisdom” yet.  Unless it’s about food.   I read enough food blogs for all of us, and I learn quite a lot about sifting and braising, rising and basting!  My new Wednesday posts will give you all some tricks and tips to handling the heat in the kitchen.  In our case this week, I’ll share how I tackle the grocery store and work on eating healthy before I even bring food home!

  • Don’t be afraid of frozen fruits and vegetables – If you know you’re making a lot of smoothies, having a busy week, or the fresh fruit looks icky, go ahead and grab some frozen produce!  Freezing locks in nutrients, so they’re just as good for you.  And, they can quickly be added to pasta, steamed, or blended with some yogurt for a quick meal!
  • Only take the produce you need – For a lot of people cooking alone or for two people, an entire bag of grapes is too much!  At a grocery store, it’s okay to take only the produce you’re going to eat.  I use this rule with asparagus, herbs, bananas, and grapes.  (Obviously doesn’t apply to pre-boxed food like strawberries, blueberries, or bags of onions!)
  • Stay on the periphery – All of the staple foods can be found, for the most part, on the periphery of the store.  Fruits and veggies, dairy, protein, and some frozen foods are easily scooped into your cart after a quick lap around the store.  Things I stray into the aisle for?  Spices, baking needs, granola, whole grain crackers, popcorn, and necessities for Asian cuisine!
  • Make a list before you go – Work on planning your meals ahead of time and writing down what ingredients you need to make the magic happen!  Whenever I go to the store without a list, I bring home 25,000 unnecessary things and they’re either unhealthy or go bad before the week is over.  This will also save you beaucoup bucks.
  • Check your labels – I used to think that *all* granola was healthy.  And that taco seasoning was just made of delicious spices.  After reading some nutrition labels, I found hidden fat, sugar, and sodium that can quickly be eliminated after spending some time searching.  I found low sugar and low fat granola that had good flavor.  I started buying low sodium taco seasoning.  I finally found a cereal that tastes like chocolate Cheerios, but is made from beans!  Some investigating can do you a favor, and you might find something unexpected that you like!
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Lunch prep game on POINT.

  • Tupperware is your friend – My tupperware collection is the champion on this side of the Mississippi.  When I get home from the store, I do all my chopping, slicing, and dicing before the week begins.  I’m more likely to eat healthy snacks if they’re ready to rock and roll in the fridge.  I measure servings of cheese and crackers, hummus, and trail mix into their containers.  Fruits and veggies are washed and cut.  When you’re packing lunches with 7 minutes to spare, this makes all the difference, and it honestly takes 15 minutes when you return from the store.
  • Some stuff is worth buying prepared – Minced garlic and ginger in the produce aisle is a girl’s best friend after a long day.  Chicken stock is awesome when it’s homemade, but if it’s not the star ingredient?  Buy a box in the soup aisle.  Taco seasoning is great for a last minute meal that’s an excellent lunch the next day.  Some stores sell precut fruit and vegetables that are great if you’re a pinch, or just don’t like standing over a cutting board.  If prepared food encourages you to cook at home, it’s much better than going to a restaurant!
  • Try a grocery store instead of your next fast food trip – Sometimes I have 15 minutes to grab a bite to eat before class.  My heart is telling me Taco Bell.  But my mind is telling me, “Nah it’s not even 7PM yet, save that for your next trip to Blarney’s Pub.”  My go-tos?  Precut strawberries or watermelon, a greek yogurt or cheese stick, single serving cracker pack, or a protein bar.  I feel full and don’t feel like I calorie-splurged on a meal by myself!  I try to save those for Friday night date nights.

I hope this gave you some insight into how a health nerd approaches their biggest weakness – a store entirely filled with food.  Good luck out there this week!

xo, Maddy

 

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