The Grocery Game

I will never claim to have “perfect” eating habits. I love food, and I’m working on controlling my sweet tooth by eliminating sugar additives where possible. That said my family does try to eat clean. This means avoiding unnecessary sugars, unnecessary preservatives and chemical additives. It is amazing where you can find sugar when you actually spend time looking for it. I once found added sugar in a can of kidney beans. I planned on rinsing them and using them in a chili, and have no idea what purpose the additional sugar would serve (other than to feed our addiction for the sweet stuff). By checking labels, I was able to find another brand close by with no additional sugar. Sneaky, right?

I’ve included a picture of today’s grocery order. This is a pretty classic representation of what I would buy on a regular basis. My husband and I have spent time over the years transforming our view of food. Today, we see it more as fuel for our bodies and want to make the best choices to help maintain our health. It does take discipline and I will admit my husband is stronger willed than I am, but I try each day to find balance. Having an occasional treat isn’t the end of the world; just make sure it’s not part of your everyday routine.

Since nutrition plays such a pivotal role in our health, I wanted to share some tips that work for me.

Make a plan for the week. Decide which healthy recipes you will cook and use this information to create your grocery list. I generally do this on Sunday evenings and it typically takes me around 30 minutes. You may find it takes you more time in the beginning as you start to build your catalog of favourite, healthy dishes. Write down a dinner option for each night of the week and build your grocery list from there. Add additional fruits and veggies to use for snacks. Once this is done, you can add the other staples such as whole wheat bread, cheese, eggs, etc. Time spent upfront making your plan will likely save you time in the long run by minimizing trips to the store. This is also a great way to save money, as we all know it’s nearly impossible to run into the store for “just one thing”.

You have your list in hand. Now stick to it. Don’t be tempted by pretty packaging, or well displayed baked goods (ok, I admit I occasionally fall prey to this tactic) and never shop on an empty stomach!

The majority of healthy foods will be around the perimeter of the store, but when you are required to venture down those product-packed aisles, remember to read labels. Look for short ingredient lists and avoid anything that requires a dictionary for clarity.

I have found that if I purchase unhealthy food, I will EAT unhealthy food!! Keeping it out of the house is one of the best ways to adhere to healthy eating habits.

Finally, don’t cause yourself anxiety attempting to make perfect choices all of the time. It’s a process! Just use common sense and try to make good, informed decisions, one at a time. Through trial and error my family has compiled an assortment of healthy recipes that we all enjoy. Browse through various recipes and make choices that will work for you. Healthy food CAN taste good!