Becoming a good shopper is important not just for your health, but for your wallet too. And it is important to develop good shopping habits that will allow you to become healthier in body and mind and with your finances.
Today, it seems as though there are so many ways to avoid the grocery store, that for many people, take out has become a way of life. There are many problems with this, of course. Eating like this takes a toll on your health and your wallet, and you don’t always know what is in the foods you are getting. When you are on The Kaufmann Diet, this can be a problem, because many of the foods you are likely enjoying on a regular basis are now likely off limits.
Sometimes, taking control over your health means spending more time in the kitchen, preparing your own food, and being mindful about what you eat.
But before you do all this, you need to head to the grocery store.
Plan Your Meals In Advance, And Your Shopping Days
Planning your meals in advance is a good strategy on The Kaufmann Diet, because you’ll always know that you will have healthy food that fits within your dietary framework. As part of your meal planning, you should also include healthy snacks that you enjoy, and times you might going out to eat with friends––it is simply important to know exactly what you’ll need throughout any given week so you do not buy food that goes to waste, and you do not have too little on hand to eat.
Don’t just plan your meals though, plan your shopping habits (days) too. Obviously, having a set meal plan will inform what you need when you go to the grocery store. But intentionally planning when to go to the grocery store is an important part of making sure the rest of your meal plan doesn’t fall apart for lack of available food.
Some people have one set day they go to the grocery store. Others might frequent the grocery store throughout the week. All of these things depend your personal schedule, but if you are unaccustomed to having set times during the week to make sure you have healthy food available, having consistent day or days that you make time to shop is important.
Keep Tabs on Your Staples in the Pantry, Fridge, and Freezer
Be mindful of your fridge and pantry staples. Refrigerator staples might include eggs, uncured bacon, avocados, tomatoes, plain yogurt, carrots, romaine lettuce and other vegetables. Pantry staples might be foods like nuts, olive oil, quinoa, canned tuna or salmon. Freezer staples might include frozen berries, ground grass-fed beef or frozen chicken breasts. Whatever the foods are that you can make your go-to meals or snacks from, make sure you keep tabs on how much you need.
Know The Different Marketing Terms
Food marketing can lead to confusion about how healthy a food product is; terms get thrown around that can make you think that a food is healthy when it fact it is something you should be avoiding.
Foods may be labeled as heart-healthy, when in fact they are simply sugar-laden grain products that should be avoided on The Kaufmann Diet. Just because a food is marketed as healthy does not mean it necessarily is; this is why it is so important to read labels.
The term “natural” does not really have any meaning behind it when it comes to labeling. So-called natural foods are not healthy simply because they are labeled as such.
The USDA organic seal is the gold standard when it comes to organic foods. On the Kaufmann Diet, you do not necessarily have to opt for organic foods, but there are some reasons why you might want to in certain circumstances. However, conventional is perfectly fine if price and availability are prohibitive.
Grass-fed, grass-finished beef and bison are preferred. Organic is not the same thing as grass-fed, but often grass-fed beef is organic. Wild-caught fish and seafood is preferred to farmed. Free range poultry and eggs are best.
Have A Fixed Grocery List
For your newly planned grocery shopping habits (times), have a list of foods you know you will need no matter what. Make a list of Kaufmann Diet-approved foods that you know you will need every week, foods you enjoy eating, that are easy to prepare, or prepare in bulk and then store for eating throughout the week, and keep that list on your phone, in your car or somewhere you can easily access it when you go to the grocery store.
Shop Around The Perimeter of the Grocery Store
Typically, the perimeter of the grocery store has all the fresh produce, the butcher and unprocessed cuts of lean meats, the fresh dairy products and eggs. Getting in the aisles of grocery stores, you will likely find more processed foods, more foods containing grains, corn, sugar and other ingredients you should try to avoid on The Kaufmann Diet. This is obviously not a hard and fast rule; there are certainly some products within the aisles of grocery stores that you will want, such as olive oil, canned tuna, nuts, and foods like frozen vegetables. Generally though, the idea is to shop for whole foods that come without a list of ingredients.
When foods do come with a list of ingredients, you should read them. Almost certainly, you will be surprised by many of the things you find listed on ingredients labels, even in seemingly healthy foods. The addition of ingredients like corn, wheat, sugar, or yeast should immediately disqualify a food from winding up in your shopping cart. Any ingredients derived from these should be avoided too, i.e., gluten, corn syrup, evaporated cane juice, or nutritional yeast, etc.
There are other things to look out for, too. Trans fats, hydrogenated oils, or shortening should be avoided. Preservatives, food coloring, or hard-to pronounce additives should likely be avoided. And any foods with added sugar––even the “healthy” varieties like honey, agave, etc.––should be avoided as well.
Be Friendly To Frozen Foods
At some point, frozen foods somehow got a bad reputation within the health community, but studies show that foods like frozen berries and frozen vegetables maintain their nutritional content. Buying frozen produce often means less waste due to produce going bad. Frozen fruits and vegetables are often cheaper than fresh, and they are great for smoothies, soups, or numerous other cooking applications. Also, freezing fresh produce before it goes bad is perfectly acceptable.
Shop Local When Possible
There are many options when it comes to shopping local now; this can mean shopping at local mom and pop health food stores, farmer’s markets, buying direct from local farms, or patronizing your local butcher. Often, you will find people who genuinely care about what they do and the quality of the products they sell. Even if foods aren’t labeled organic, you will find farmers who care about the health of their soil who use minimal pesticides or artificial fertilizer, or eggs from free-range chickens, or grass-fed beef purveyors.
Opt For CSAs or Monthly Food Deliveries
Many farmer’s co-ops will deliver boxes of fresh produce straight to your door for a reasonable monthly rate; this can be a good way to both get a wide variety of vegetables in your diet and learn how to prepare some new types of foods. The same goes for meat and fish deliveries; there are many services which will deliver these foods right to your door so that you always have healthy cuts of meat and fish on hand. These delivery services can make your shopping habits and meal planning easier.
Stick to these tips and your shopping habits are sure to improve!
Make Ahead Lunches (Dinner and Breakfast options too)