Watch most people in the grocery store and you’ll see very few using grocery lists. Instead, most are “shopping from the hip” or impulse buying. My family grew up shopping that way. On Friday, we’d go up and down every aisle in our local grocery store and come out with everything we wanted and more. Lots more.
How did you end up with the food you currently have in the house? Is it in sync with your health goals? Have you been wanting to lose weight, but keep a supply of chips and crackers that sabotage your willpower in the evening? Whatever the case, it’s human nature to buy on impulse if we’re not ready and organized BEFORE WE ENTER a grocery store. And the best tool for arming yourself for your next trip to the supermarket is a shopping list.
Is it really worth it though? Consider what creating a shopping list can do for you in terms of time, money and nutritional value.
- Save Time. If your base your shopping list on a menu plan for the coming week, you’ll save time in two ways: 1) at home, because you’ve decided on your meals in advance, 2) in the store, because you can go directly to the items you want and even skip parts of the store!
- Save Money. Being a list shopper makes you a purposeful buyer. Lists save you money by keeping you on task. You’re better off sticking to your list than ending up with extra items purchased on a whim. Shopping whims ruin a food budget while a list helps you maximize your food dollars.
- Increase Nutritional Value with a side benefit of weight loss. A shopping list organized into food group headings, keeps fruits and vegetables on your radar. Avocados, lettuce and tomatoes will likely be on your list for an evening meal of chicken tacos, rice and guacamole. Oranges, bananas, apples or other fruits will be there too for lunches or quick snack foods throughout the week. Eating more plant foods, ups your fiber and nutrient intake and can help with weight loss.
With a little bit of time and thought, anyone can go from “shopping from the hip” to shopping from a list. My goal is to see you enjoy the huge benefits that come from purposeful grocery shopping–more time, maximized food dollars and better nutrition.
In Part 2–Menus, food lists and grocery shopping, we’ll discuss strategies that get you there.