Grocery Shopping Tips for a healthy Eating Plan

Grocery Shopping Tips to Kickstart your Healthy Eating Plan

Dr. Kimberley O'BrienBlog, Food, Lifestyle Leave a Comment

One of the most important parts of a healthy eating plan is to have a strategy when you’re grocery shopping! After all, how can you fill half your plate with veggies at dinner if those veggies never made it into your grocery cart? 

Here are a few healthy grocery shopping tips to help you navigate the store and leave with plenty of healthy food to fuel your body for health and energy!

Here are a few tips and tricks to ensure grocery shopping success!

1. Stick to the Perimeter and Shop the Aisles with Intention

Where should you focus your time and energy when shopping for groceries?  Around the perimeter!  This is where you’ll find the most nutrient-dense, fresh foods like meat, fish, fruit and VEGGIES! 

Yes, you can shop the aisles but you should do so with intention.  Although you’ll find some healthy foods down the aisles, this is also where the fast-foods, packaged foods and sugar-dense foods live, which are best kept out of sight, out of mind! 

Since the aisles are where temptation lurks, I suggest that you avoid them unless there is something specific you need to pick up from your grocery list (see tip #2).  A few of these items may be brown rice, rice noodles, coconut milk, beans, lentils and oats.  In the freezer aisle don’t forget to pick up a bag or two of frozen berries, which are fabulous to have on hand for a healthy smoothie

How to do an Elimination Diet to Identify your Food Sensitivities

2. Make a Meal Plan and Create a Grocery List

Without a plan you’re much more likely to be tempted by convenience while at the grocery store, so it’s best to show up already inspired and prepared!  I’m a big advocate for planning out a few meals at a time and making a list of the groceries you’ll need to get you through each week. Planning a few healthy meals in advance will also help you to save time and money while at the store! 

For a few healthy and delicious meal ideas I invite you to download 6 free recipes from my Elimination Diet Meal Plan online program, and browse the recipe section of the Healthy Life Redesign blog for additional inspiration!

3. Don’t Shop Hungry, Tired or Grumpy! 

Tired or hungry? This is when your willpower is at it’s lowest and your cravings for sweets, salt and simplicity end up ruling what gets added to your cart! This may mean grocery shopping on a day off instead of after a long workday, or having a healthy snack prior to visiting the store.  If you have to grocery shop in a less than desirable state of mind, make sure to stick to the staples (see tip #5) and to get in and out of the store quickly!

Grocery Shopping Tips - Plan healthy snacks and tasty treats

4. Plan to Pick up Healthy Snacks, and Optionally a Tasty Treat!

Yes – treats ARE allowed as part of a healthy eating plan! However, the goal is to be intentional about what you’re eating and to treat yourself in a way that makes you FEEL GOOD (not guilty)!

This comes down to planning BEFORE you hit the store so that you can pick up the ingredients required to make healthier treats at home (don’t buy that box of Twinkies!). Healthier treat options can include something as simple as a good quality bar of delicious dark chocolate, baking yourself some gluten and dairy-free peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, or getting fancy and enjoying some dairy-free lemon blueberry cheesecake

A healthy eating plan is NOT about deprivation, and it’s instead about choosing foods that both taste good AND make you feel good too!

Grocery Shopping Tips - Stick with the staples

5. Stick with the Staples!

If you haven’t had time to plan before going shopping then sticking to the staples is key. With the right ingredients on hand, you can always throw together a quick stir-fry, salad or scrambled eggs and veggies. Here are a few things I like to always keep on hand:

– Fresh veggies like mixed greens, carrots, broccoli, avocados, onions and mushrooms
– Fresh fruit like apples and bananas, along with plenty of frozen berries!
– Frozen chicken or fish
– Fresh eggs
– Canned beans and dried lentils
– Brown rice, oats and quinoa
– Raw nuts and seeds

With these staples, you can always throw together a fresh and delicious meal!  However, it’s important to note that the foods that work best for me may or may not be what’s best for YOU!  Identifying which foods fuel, versus fool, your body is of utmost importance!  You can learn how to personalize your diet and fuel YOUR body for health and energy by downloading my free eBook series.

What are the staples you can’t leave the grocery store without? Let me know your favourites in the comments below! Also, don’t forget to share and to pin this post so you can refer back for future inspiration!

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5 Grocery Shopping Tips

About the Author

Dr. Kimberley O'Brien


Dr. Kimberley O'Brien is a Naturopathic Doctor in  Nelson, BC with expertise in the treatment of digestive disorders, fatigue and hormone imbalances.  She is the founder of Healthy Life Redesign and creator of the Elimination Diet Meal Plan and the Real Food Recharge online programs.  Her mission is to help you own your health and live a life you love!

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