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We’ve all been there… You have a basket full of fruits & veggies and you’ve just grabbed your egg whites. Now it’s time to make the long journey back to the checkout with only one thing still standing in your way… WHICH ISLE TO WALK THROUGH?! Call me masochistic but I always opt to take the torturous stroll through the cookie isle. If I’m feelin’ extra frisky, I’ll do a loop around the ice cream section as well. C’est la vie! 🙂

Let’s be real. Grocery shopping is daunting to many and detrimental to others. Often times, this can simply be attributed to poor planning prior to entering the warzone. We seem to always lose self control when we come face-to-face with those round, creme-filled, crunchy little pieces of heaven they like to call Oreos. Damn you Nabisco! Here’s a little trick to better equip yourself for that fateful battle next time. Try writing out a list of only the essentials that you need (believe it or not, this does not include Oreos) and write down the estimated cost for each item. Now total the amount of the whole list, pull out some cash, and leave the purse in the car before you heading into battle.

Next, it’s time to truly understand food. Become ‘one with it’ if you will. With words like “Organic” and “Fat-free” flying around everywhere these days, we automatically assume that that means that the products making these claims are good for you. Well I hate to break it to you if you were one of these poor souls that’ve been duped into believing this because surprise! they’re not. This is one of the dirty tactics that some companies have been using for years to lure those that don’t know any better into thinking that they’re making health-conscious decisions. One simply has to turn the product over and read the nutrition info to realize that the products making these claims are usually super high in calories or carbs, thus squashing any dreams you had of having rock hard, chiseled abs while chowing down on a delicious block of cheese. BUT IT SAID REDUCED FAT!?!

Pro tip: If you really want to stay on top of everything you’re putting into your body, try reading the ingredients of the product you’re thinking about. If there’s more than 5 or 6 things listed, or the majority of ingredients are words you can’t pronounce, then just put it down and slowly walk away.

Lastly, let’s talk geography. I know what you’re thinking. What the hell does geography have to do with food but I’m going to need you to just shut up and trust me. Let’s think of it this way – the grocery store is a square and most of what you really NEED can be found on the outer 4 walls; dairy (milk, eggs, yogurt), produce (vegetables) and fruit, protein (chicken, fish, beef, etc.). These are the foods that your diet should mainly consisted; fresh, whole, nutrient dense, pure nutrition sources. Not only does your body perform better on this type of fuel, but there is a golden rule while eating for health and according to your goals “the less processed the better!”

The isles inside of those 4 walls have everything that you should keep to a minimum in your diet, such as; condiments, cereal, cookies, bars, crackers, candy, pop, juices, etc… Not to say that these types of foods are “BAD” and you should never have them – they are just highly processed and have a longer shelf life, which is why they are found in the middle of the store. Think of it like this; if it comes in a box, bag or a can it is most likely highly processed. Always try to keep processed goods to a minimum. Those types of foods are less nutrient dense, high in preservatives, carbohydrates, sugar and fat than anything else.

When grocery shopping, you should simply shop around all 4 corners. Once you have all the fresh stuff; protein, vegetables for micronutrients, and fruit for vitamins – go into the isles to get the couple things you are missing.

Take away note: By following the simple rule of shopping the outer corners of the grocery store first, you are most likely to make better food choices.

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