Ever heard to “Shop the Perimeter” of your local grocery store?
Most of the fresh produce, dairy, eggs, meat and seafood is located around the perimeter of the store. While the inner aisles are more commonly where the processed foods are located. I’ve created a typical store diagram for you below and have modeled it after one of my local grocery stores. I have found that most stores are set up in a similar fashion.
Yes, shopping the perimeter is great! If you only shop the perimeter though, you may miss out on a few healthy items that will help you make great meals in a pinch! Things such as brown rice, whole grain pasta, organic black beans, olives, spices, almond butter, oats, and sometimes even frozen foods are located in the middle aisles. Grocery store markets put the most common food items such as milk at the back of the store so you are forced to walk down the aisles. This is a way for them to get you to purchase more, to tie in products with the marketing you see on TV, movies, ads and billboards.
So what are some tips to help us shop in a healthy and efficient way without getting sucked into to buying things we don’t need, want or are trying to stay away from for our health?
- Organize Your List: Write down your list of everything you need. I usually write my list twice. The first time, I write what I need in any order, or by quickly glancing at my pantry and fridge. Then, I re-write the list according to its place in the market. The meat and dairy go together, my fruits and veggies go together, my breads and middle aisle items go together. Not only does this help me navigate throughout the store, but it also helps to prevent me from forgetting any items! Not sure what to put on your list? Make a quick menu for the week ahead. If you know your family loves spaghetti, meatloaf and pizza, be sure to include those ingredients on your list and come up with two more ideas to complete the week.
- Get to Know YOUR Market and discover NEW foods: While some people find grocery shopping intimidating, I love it! And, I have since I was young. I love to cook, so browsing through the market was always a pleasure for me and not a chore. Knowing where things are in your market make your experience a lot easier. If you don’t know where something is, ask! Staff are usually very knowledgeable about where things are, even outside of their departments. If you have a few moments to spare, take a gander at the new or seasonal items in the produce area. You may find something you love simply by giving it a go!
- Don’t Go Shopping Hungry: If you are starving, grab a snack before you head to the store. Going on an empty stomach can lead to overbuying, impulse purchases and unhealthy choices that you had not intended on. Also, you may end up putting more convenience foods in your cart because you are hungry NOW. Even eating a banana before heading over will help you to make and keep to your smart decisions!