We’ve all been there. Walking in to the supermarket, filled with ideas of just filling your bags with meat and veg. Then the toddler starts screaming, and the child starts picking up bags of brightly coloured snacks “pleeassseeee Mummmmmmmy” and before you know it, the only colours in your shopping cart are from packets, your stress levels are through the roof, and you are stood in front of the chocolate / gin / crisps, piling one after the other in to the trolley. So, here are my 10 top tips for an all round healthier shopping experience.
It is so easy to talk yourself in to certain items, not on your mental or physical shopping list. Especially all the offers too. The end of the aisle “Buy one get one free“, that you simply cannot miss, as they “really are a bargain“…but are they? The World is getting fatter, type 2 diabetes is spreading like wild-fire and supermarkets are getting richer. Of course, the easy solution is not to give in to temptation and to ignore all the offers, but it is easier said than done, I get that.
I get many emails asking me how I shop and where I buy food from. The simple answer is, the supermarket. I will occasionally shop at a farmers market if I find myself at one, or at the local village shop for some added necessities. But, we usually do a large supermarket run once a week. Sometimes we shop as a family or other times I go alone. I usually shop at Aldi. We have a good one here in Cheltenham, it is rarely that busy, the quality of the produce is very good and our shopping usually comes to £20 – if not more – cheaper than the same food bought in Sainsbury’s. The great thing about Aldi, and Lidl for that matter, is that they don’t have all the tempting offers, the dazzling marketing campaigns and the free sample counters. What’s even better is that at the checkout it is filled with nuts / seeds and bottles of water, not the usual ££££££ magazines, and chocolate found at supermarket checkouts. I really discourage food snobbery, it is completely pointless. Food is food at the end of the day and a normal avocado from Waitrose is no better than an avocado from Aldi (almost 80p cheaper). Shop with pride, buy what you can afford and buy wisely.
So, here goes! These are my top tips, of course there really is no right or wrong and many of you will have your own shopping tactics. Do add in the comments below if you have any suggestions as there are plenty more out there!
Top tips for supermarket shopping
- Never shop on an empty stomach! Always go to the supermarket, farmers market etc on a full tummy, don’t walk in starving hungry as you will inevitably succumb to temptation and impulse buy.
- Carry a bottle of water (still or sparkling) around with you and sip it as you go, hopefully that’ll give you a focus and wont leave you reaching for a can of something fizzy. You can flavour your own water with lemon, lime, herbal tea or other fruits to make it a bit more exciting.
- Plan your trip to the gym or go and do some exercise before your shop. For me, doing exercise before a food shop really helps make sure my basket’s full of good food, as the endorphins and fact I’ve sweated buckets make me much more focused on eating well.
- Aim to buy good food. Source the best food you can afford and organic / free range where possible especially when it comes to eggs, meat and fish. But, if you can’t afford this, don’t panic. Never ever overstretch yourself financially. Look at the frozen section, white fish, chicken fillets, frozen berries etc. Supermarkets offer premium quality as well as standard and economy. Some even have their own butchers / fish counters. That way you are getting the higher quality but at half the price. If you have a local farmers market then pick up fresh produce (veggies, fruit there). They are usually fresher in quality, locally sourced and no different in price (if not cheaper) than a supermarket.
- Shop alone. If you shop with a friend / partner / child who isn’t focused on low carb / healthy eating too, then they will be likely to add things in to your shopping basket that will be tempting. Shopping alone will mean you can stick to your shopping list!
- Make a shopping list in advance and stick to it. Don’t fall victim to the highly processed treats and snacks which are buy one get one free. You will find that it’s always the sugary treats / drinks and snacks that have the offers on them and never the more expensive things like avocados, nuts, organic meats or free range eggs!
- Be open-minded. It’s easy to stick to the same foods over and over again, but it’s important to have variety in your diet. Aim to try a few new ingredients every week. If you have a cottage pie once a week then why not just change the topping (broccoli, sweet potato and mature cheddar is one of my favourites), or add some different herbs in to the beef mixture.
- Make a meal plan for the week and then stick to buying those ingredients. Try new recipes and move out of your comfort zone. We usually buy a large chicken from the butcher for a Sunday roast. It is more expensive than a supermarket standard chicken, but then the quality of the meat, environment where the chicken was raised is much higher. I then use the leftovers to have as a chicken salad the next day and then use the rest to make a nut butter curry with lots of onions and peppers. So, in total that one chicken can serve 3 people over 3 meals! Sometimes I will make bone broth with the bones, but this is more rare these days, with a toddler running round all over the place.
- Shop later in the day, or on a Sunday afternoon as high quality items (organic meats, fish, cheese etc) usually get reduced. These can easily popped in the freezer and eaten at a later date. Same with things like blueberries, raspberries and blackberries and even bags of spinach, which are often expensive when bought at full price. All easily freezable. (Check out this blog for foods you can freeze)
- Online shopping is also a great idea too. You don’t then have the physical temptation in front of you, you don’t have the added stress of taking the family shopping and there are plenty of offers online to make savings. It is more convenient for many, especially if you work long hours. If I shop online then I usually check out https://www.vouchercodes.co.uk first as they usually have some really good offers- you can pop the supermarket of choice in the search bar and it will bring up any offers. There is currently £18 of your first shop over £60 at Sainsbury’s.
So there you go. Hope some of these tips have proved useful!