The grocery store can be one of the most challenging parts of your journey to optimal wellbeing.
You cleaned out your pantry. You’ve been building Habits of Healthy Fuelings. And you are starting to feel the momentum of your progress. Then you have to walk through a store full of the tempting foods you just threw out and have been working so hard to avoid.
Shopping for healthy foods is already difficult because few of us were taught how to choose what foods are best, and then we spend a lifetime absorbing ads and marketing messages for soft drinks, snack cakes, and sugary cereals.
We might not know what to buy. Our Habits of Health are still building, after all. And we spent years being conditioned to buy foods that are not good for us.
Grocery shopping can be hard!
But it can also be easy.
Here’s how to make a grocery trip another victory in your journey:
- Eat before you shop, and bring water with you. Time your trip with your fuelings so you can enter the store already full. Shopping hungry makes temptations more difficult, so if you eat beforehand and have a bottle of water on hand to sip, the display cases of snacks will be easier to ignore.
- Make a list. Our shopping guides make picking healthy foods simple and easy, so write out what you plan to buy before you leave home. With a plan in hand, you can avoid meandering aimlessly from aisle to aisle.
- Use the perimeter. Healthy foods tend to be on the outer edge of grocery stores because sleeves of cookies pumped full of preservatives don’t need the same care as fresh vegetables or fresh fish. The less time you spend in the aisles at the center of the store, the better.
- Have fun. Chores are rarely the highlight of our day, but if you treat your journey to optimal wellbeing as an adventure, a simple trip out for groceries can come with a sense of discovery. Pick a new lean & green recipe, for example, so that you can try new ingredients and new flavors, making the trip itself more interesting and your time at home afterward more fun as well.
- Ask for help. If you find grocery shopping difficult, whether that’s not knowing what foods to pick or feeling overwhelmed by the temptation of unhealthy foods, you’re not alone. Talk to your coach about what you’re experiencing. Do the exercises in Your LifeBook. This can take practice, and it’s okay to need support.
As mundane as grocery shopping might sound, these everyday parts of our lives can be some of the most important for building our Habits of Health. When you come home with your arms full of fresh and healthy foods, those choices you made today will help your Habits of Health for the rest of the week.
Eating healthy food will make you feel better, giving you more energy. You are less likely to eat unhealthy foods because they are not readily available (you didn’t buy any!). And those feelings of success are great sparks for going to the gym or using time in the kitchen to bond with your family.
All of those rewards from a few mindful minutes in a store. That’s a good deal!