Top 10 Tips for a Healthy Grocery Haul

I feel like a lot of people have a love/hate relationship with grocery shopping. I am in that boat as well; sometimes I love it, sometimes I hate it (when it's busy, I'm hungry, or in a rush). I'm here to try to make your life a little bit easier by sharing some of my favourite tips for a successful and healthy grocery haul. It is in fact possible to eat healthy on a budget and it's important to prepare yourself for that by getting the right things for the right price.

Here are my Top 10 Tips for a Healthy Grocery Haul ...

(1) Make a list

Prepare yourself! Know what you're going for and wanting to get. Trust me, I am the queen of getting distracted in grocery stores (usually in the health food section), but if I have a list I stick to it and don't forget anything!

(2) Stick to the outside aisles

Try to fill 70% of your cart with items from the outside aisles of the store - think: produce section, meat/ deli, whole grains, dairy, etc.

(3) Don't shop when your hungry/ hangry

Have a snack before ... you'll thank me later.

(4) Don't be scared of frozen food

Frozen fruit and vegetables are flash-frozen at their freshest point, so you're not losing much nutritional value from buying in the freezer aisle. It is also very easy to store for a longer period of time.

(5) Read and compare

Read labels - the ingredient list and the nutritional profile. Things to look out for ... short ingredient list of words you can read and recognize, avoid high fructose corn syrup at all costs, and be mindful of what ingredient is first on the list - that's what the product contains the most of!

(6) Shop at a Farmer's Market whenever possible

Chances are when you shop at a farmer's market, you're meeting the people growing the produce and it's travelled a lot shorter of a distance to get there. Also, you'll usually find cheaper prices than in an actual grocery store. 

Pictures courtesy of my girl Nicky Smith (Pike Place Market - Seattle, Washington)

(7) Read the flyers

Thanks to my pops for teaching me to read the flyers - there's always some sort of way to save some money in there.

(8) Meal prep after you shop

As you put things away, try to prep some food for your week. Could be as simple as grilling up some lean meat and vegetables, or just cutting up fruit for snacks.

(9) Buy in bulk

This is where Costco and Sam's Club come in handy. If there are some things you can buy in bulk and store - that will save you from making frequent trips. For example, buying a big package of fresh fish or chicken, but storing half in the freezer for later use.

(10) Grab a coffee and a friend

Things are always more enjoyable with caffeine and someone to talk to.

Another thing to keep in mind is to go at off times (avoiding weekend mornings and the post-work rush. In order to be successful with your healthy lifestyle, you need to prepare yourself for it. Be prepared when you walk through the doors, know what you want and use coupons when you can!

Remember, failing to prepare is preparing to fail.