Last Updated on February 12, 2019
This week we will get right into smart grocery shopping. Together we will get the marketing out of your kitchen, switch off advertising and turn to smart shoppers for advice. Good habits start with a clean eating grocery list based on a meal plan and continue the minute you walk into the store. The free shopping list you will get below but first let us look into our grocery shopping habits.
According to Brian Wansink, an American professor in the field of consumer behavior, every human is forced to make 200 food decisions per day. Maybe you’ve already stood in front of 10 types of pasta without knowing which one to choose…
Those of you who aim to reach a healthy weight should start to shop differently. One of the most important tips for your clean eating kitchen is to find the perfect shopping location. Why?
Big superstores are real-time thieves
One of the main reasons why people love to shop at discount stores is their price advantage. Grocery stores, on the other hand, are the most expensive places to buy vegetables, fruits, bread and just about everything else.
Why is Aldi so popular?
The German-based Aldi, for example, is a discount store offering high-quality food at very low prices. You can buy most of the produce you get in the grocery store there. Did you know that they even sell organic produce?
Aldi’s strict no-frills approach cuts anything that wastes the store’s time or money.
Market researchers found another important aspect as to why people preferred discount stores like Aldi to supermarkets. The decision-making process is rather quick and easy as you won’t find a deep grocery store style selection.
At Aldi, you usually get only one type of spaghetti or natural yogurt. But still, they offer Rigatoni and low-fat yogurt. Consumers love the short decision-making process and a clear orientation.
No matter which Aldi you visit, the fridges, vegetables, nuts, and teas are always situated in the same location within the store. There is no endless searching through corridors. There are no “processed food” promotions around every corner waiting to trap you. Customers at discount stores are more in control of their time and decisions than they are in superstores like Walmart (and others).
With nearly 1,300 U.S. locations, chances are high that you’ll find an Aldi in your region. The chain plans to open 650 new stores in the U.S. by 2018.
Shop smarter with a tiny 3 step habit change
Step 1: As a baby step I suggest to make this week an experiment. Measure the time you need for shopping at:
- a discount store
- a grocery store and
- a superstore
Don’t forget to add the time you need to get to the shop.
Step 2: Compare the results. Is there a shop within your reach where you find your stuff very quickly and easily without buying other things you don’t really need?
Step 3: This is the kind of shop you should prefer in the future. Try to shop for 80 % of your purchases in that place. This is one of the most important grocery shopping tips I can give you.
Embarking on smart shopping strategies means optimizing the frequency of shopping trips too. Try to shop as often as necessary but as seldom as possible. You have to find out what works best for your life.
While shopping trips twice-per-month have shown to save time and money, it is not realistic for a clean eating lifestyle with a focus on lots of fresh whole foods. If you can live with a mix of fresh and frozen foods, then try once per week. If you get a farm share every week, then once per week might work too.
The general rule of the thumb for a smart strategy: try to keep your store visits down to no more than twice a week.
I save some time because I get my farm share – an organic vegetable box – delivered to my home each Tuesday. I then create my clean eating meal plan based on the veggies in the box.
For meal planning, I also take into account my family’s preferences and schedules for the week. The groceries that I don’t have at home I mark on my running shopping list. That way 1-2 trips per week for me works very well.
7 additional tips (free clean eating food list!)
1) Join a farm share
Sign up for a local CSA/Farmshare and get access to locally grown, high quality produces that makes plant-based eating easy and convenient. Each week, enjoy excellent boxes of produce that are delivered right to your doorstep.
2) Purchase only food that is really necessary
Never shop without your shopping list based on your clean eating meal plan.
For a start, you could use my “running shopping list”. It is an 80/20 clean eating food list. Click on the link above and download the FREE PDF file to print it out. Keep a list next to your food for your meal plan; each day, mark it on the list when something runs out.
3) Never go shopping hungry
Always take a small water bottle with you in case you get thirsty. Suck a peppermint or chew some gum when you experience hunger cravings. Both can neutralize seductive smells and appetites.
Never buy sweets, snacks or pastries if you didn‘t mark them on your shopping list before (e.g. because you expect guests).
4) Leave your kids at home
Whenever possible, try to shop without your kids. A solo trip to the store is almost like a trip to the spa! Imagine…. walking down the aisles at your own pace. You have time to read the labels and wisely figure out which items to choose. You don’t have to apologize to anyone for moaning kids grabbing unhealthy food.
5) Prioritize clean eating foods
Make sure that the majority of your grocery shopping consists of clean eating whole foods, like fresh vegetables, fruits, grains, whole grain bread, lean protein in addition to some nuts and seeds.
6) Opt for the freshest food possible
To get the highest nutrients possible, try to focus on fresh produce. Check the expiration dates. The freshest foods are located towards the back of the shelves, or on the bottom shelves.
7) Read labels
Make sure that the ingredient lists of the foods you choose are short. For a clean eating approach, an ingredient list with less than five items is essential
Do you know any additional grocery shopping tips?
I hope you liked my tips? Now it's your turn! Where are you shopping mostly and why? Share with us your best tips and bargain ideas to save time and money in the comments below!