Written by: Elizabeth Fay, MS, RD, CSCPCC, CNSC
Registered Dietitian, Certified Specialist in Pediatric Critical Care Nutrition, Certified Nutrition Support Clinician
Not too long ago did we have simple grocers. The shops were small and personable. They’d have what you needed, but perhaps just one type or brand of the product you were looking for. Today, grocery stores are superstores, housing not only our food, but often times a one-stop-shop to also get your prescriptions, clothes, and home goods. Many grocery stores even have coffee shops, bars, or full restaurants inside! The sheer magnitude of these stores can be overwhelming as you search aisle to aisle for the simplest ingredients. Today there’s also more choices than ever. This has been a wonderful advancement and opportunity for consumers, especially those who follow specific diets or are looking for alternative products to avoid allergens. In addition, manufacturer competition has also increased consumer options. Just think about how long that marinara sauce aisle is… or the yogurt section! The options can be overwhelming and these feelings are very common.
We have some tips to help you navigate the grocery giants, learning where to start, how to plan, and how to shop and save time while reducing stress and anxiety.
When it comes to planning your grocery trip, let’s start with the importance of meal planning. The only way we’ll know what to purchase at the store is if we identify what we need. Check out our post about meal planning to get you started. Meal planning can be very detailed or simple and straightforward. Choose whichever approach works best for you! As you meal plan, take note of which grocery items you already have on hand and which items you need to purchase. Some people prefer to use a pad and paper, others build lists in their phone, while some like to use the grocery store’s app itself. Your Nuleeu App gives you access to meal plans and provides you with a pre-generated grocery list. This is an excellent tool if you’re just starting out!
As you build your list or when you finish your list, take a few moments to organize it. This is an important step that can help save you time, while reducing anxiety and frustration. One of the most helpful ways to organize your list is by listing the items in order of your grocery store path. So for example, if you start in the produce section, list all fruits and vegetables and items from that area first. Then if you head to the deli or bakery, list those items next. Continue to organize your list in this way through the aisles. It can be helpful to leave refrigerated or frozen items until the end if possible so that they stay as cold as possible during your shopping trip. For example, if you purchase yogurt and place it in your cart first and then shop for 30 minutes, that yogurt is out at room temperature for longer than if you saved it to pick up at the end of your shopping trip. Organizing your list in this fashion can help you avoid going back and forth throughout the store. Many store apps even tell you the aisle the food can be found in, so you can plan ahead from the comfort of your home without having to memorize the store aisles! If you take a few minutes to organize your list now, you can confidently march into your grocery store with a plan in place to get in and out as quickly as you’d like.
As you shop throughout the store, keep referencing your grocery list for what you need. Each aisle can bring temptation with advertisements and sales. Use your grocery list as the source of truth to purchase just what you need. This can help you stay on track with your nutrition and wellness goals, while also helping to stick to your grocery budget. For example, if an item is on sale at two for $6, it’s ok to purchase just one item if that’s all you need. You’ll still get the sale price, while sticking to your budget and grocery needs. If you have coupons or savings on your phone app, take a moment to review your items and gather your coupons before checkout. Run through your grocery list one more time, checking to make sure you didn’t forget anything.
Discuss your nutrition and wellness goals with your Nuleeu Registered Dietitian or Certified Nutrition Specialist. We will help to individualize additional meal planning and shopping recommendations to meet your specific needs. Utilize your Nuleeu resources in our Nuleeu app and desktop portal! Happy shopping!