Top 4 Ways to Transform Your Grocery Shopping

Grocery shopping…It’s a necessary evil. For some it’s “me time,” but for others, it can be a daunting task. The worst part? Don’t it the right way is crucial to achieving your transformation goals. And while you can definitely rely on grocery pickup or food delivery services, sometimes it’s still better to go and do it yourself. That way, you’re ensuring that any foods that are out of stock are replaced with high quality items that fit your needs, your budget, and your goals.

Related: Click here for the top 5 questions and answers I get asked about nutrition.

How to Transform Your Grocery Shopping + Reach Your Weight Loss Goals

Remember that little saying I like to repeat…something about abs are made in the kitchen? It’s true. So true, in fact, that 80% of transformation success IS nutrition. So before you head out on your next grocery run, check out some of my best grocery store survival tips (along with my favorite must-haves) that help me stay on track with my goals and my sanity week after week.

Know Before You Go

Before you even walk out your door, make sure you have a list ready to go. That way, you can stay focused and less tempted to buy the foods that are not part of your nutrition plan. Trust me on this. Fail to plan, plan to fail. It’s a harsh truth but a good one, and it can apply to so many things, including grocery shopping. When you’re making that list, be sure to include lean proteins, healthy carbs, fruits + veggies, healthy fats, and spices and seasonings for extra flavor—all those foods that will help you nail your nutrition goal in a yummy way!

To get you started, here are some blog posts to check out. I’ve even included some recipes!

Never Shop Hungry

If you go to the grocery store on an empty stomach, you can plan on walking out of there munching on an open bag of Oreos. Trust me on this. Never go grocery shopping when you’re hungry. Because when you do, every single thing in that store is going to look and sound amazing. And that’s when your better judgement stays waiting in the car while you and your stomach go on a shopping spree.

Plan your trip when you’ve already eaten a healthy meal, take your list with you, and follow the rest of these tips for shopping success.

Shop the Perimeter First

It’s a not-so-well-kept secret that the healthier items are going to be in the perimeter of the grocery store, while all the sugary, fattening, deliciously tempting but not-so-good-for you other foods are in the middle. So, make it a goal to shop the perimeter first.

Pro tip: Structure your grocery list to help you do just this!

  • Produce: Those colorful fruits and veggies are seriously the foundation of good nutrition, so stock up on your fave fruits and veggies. A lot of grocery stores will even have veggies already chopped. While these can often be a bit more expensive, sometimes it’s helpful to grab a container or two, especially if you know you’re going to be limited in your prep time that week.
  • Dairy: Nonfat milk is a great option for high carb days, and unsweetened almond milk is an awesome option for any day!
  • Meat & poultry: Grab those lean meats like chicken, lean steaks, and ground turkey. And here’s a meal prep tip that I live by: I prep my proteins in bulk twice per week so I always have protein on hand and ready to go. One more tip: Don’t forget the eggs! They’re one of the best (and cheapest) sources of protein you can get.
  • Deli: Lean, low-sodium cold cuts are easy to grab n’ go, and you can sometimes find some healthy done-for-you salads and other meals in this section, too, which can really help cut back on your weekly prep.

Know What You’re Looking for in Those Aisles

  • Grains: Opt for whole grain bagels, breads, and English muffins. You can even stock up on whole grain rice and chickpea pasta as an alternative to the white-flour variety.
  • Frozen vegetables: These are a staple in my house because they’re super easy to warm up in a pinch, and they’re frozen at the height of their freshness, which means they’re full of awesome nutrients. Proof that you don’t have to sacrifice nutrition for simplicity!
  • Cereals: Cereal doesn’t have to be off limits! Cereal can be a real life saver, especially if your house is full of kids and a little bit chaotic in the mornings. But pay attention to the nutrition label and check the ingredients. Opt for those that are high in fiber and low in added sugar.
  • Marinara sauces: Sauces are an awesome and healthy addition to add on top of your starches like rice, potatoes, and pasta. They’re also a great option to simmer with your protein as you’re cooking it for added flavor. One of my favorite easy meals is to cook ground meat in bulk, add my marinara, and mix with steamed veggies. If it’s high carb day, add in some rice or whole grain noodles!
  • Spices: Spice is the variety of life, right?! Don’t be afraid to play around with spices and different seasonings because they can help turn a boring meal into a festive one in no time. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring, so commit to trying new flavors each week. It’s amazing how the “same” meal can be changed by switching up the seasonings.
  • Plastic containers: These are super convenient for storing all those healthy foods once they’re prepped, and these babies are another huge secret to transformation success. It’s harder to hit that drive-thru when you have a meal prepped, cooked, packaged, and calling your name from the fridge!

Listen: Grocery shopping is a chore, but just like anything else in life, it’s all about your mindset. It’s about choosing to see grocery shopping as an opportunity to learn about the foods you’re using to fuel your body, and getting the chance to have control over your healthy lifestyle is something worth celebrating. And yes, I’m preaching to myself here too. So…this week, I want you to plan, prep, and go have some fun getting your buns to the store while stocking up for your weekly menu.


Related reading:

4 Kitchen Must-Haves for Transformation Success
Eat Your Veggies!
Breaking The Brown Bag Blues: Healthy School Lunches!
Go Green or Go Home! Top Tips for Sneaking in Those Veggies
Pumpkin Spice + Everything Nice: 5 Favorite Healthy Pumpkin Spice Swaps

60 Responses

  1. Dear Heidi and Chris….I feel helpless but I look to you both and feel HOPE. I’m very sick with an illness that causes extreme nausea and pain. I haven’t eaten in 7 years….I get feed via an I.V in my heart. I’m 4’11” and 111 lbs. I used to weight train before I got sick and really want to get back into it. Is it ok to exercise while being sick or will I further reduce my immunity to other sicknesses? I want to build muscle so that my body won’t consume my vital organs for nourishment. Please help me if you can….the doctors say I’m palliative (I’m only 40, married with 2 kids) and told me 4 years ago that I had 2 years to live……but I want to prove them wrong….that I can do this….I just need help and don’t know who else to turn to. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

    1. Hi Jessica: Thank you so much for your post and for sharing your story with us. I’m so sorry to hear about all you’re dealing with, and I can’t imagine how difficult this must be for you and your family. With your health issues, it’s best to discuss any exercise program with your healthcare team and then follow their recommendations. They are the best ones to help you with this since they understand your health issues and can work with you on a one-on-one basis. We sincerely wish you the best! 🙂

  2. I am extremely interested in carb cycling I think it might be what I need to do to get rid of my last 40 pounds. At 47 it seems the weight goes on easy and is tough to drop. I work out 4-5 times a week with a boot camp type class. If I was to get one of your books to Getty started carb cycling which one would you recommend I get? Thank you!

  3. Heidi & Chris…that trolley looks amazing… how do you fix a diet of vegan protein shakes, banana, rice cakes, freefrom crackers & potato flake mash. thats all I can tolerate these days…and thats slightly against advice from professionals saying to cut out all food…just have shakes…I’m desperate to eat REAL food

  4. Thank you so much for doing this. I loved it, so very helpful. You and Chris look great!:)
    That bread with the green label, can you get that at Walmart, I think it was Dave’s bread?
    Please do this again soon, very helpful.:)

    Sincerely, Felicita:)

  5. Loved your grocery tour. For those looking to release weight, when I do my grocery tours I reccomend limiting bagels and pasta.

    1. Hi Nan: Healthy carbs, including whole grain breads and pasta, are an important component of weight loss, and they’re included in Chris and Heidi’s carb cycling program. You can learn more about the nutrition part of their program here: 🙂

  6. This was so helpful! When measuring out serving sizes for meats, do you measure the meat cooked or uncooked to get the proper number of grams?

    1. Hi Tiffany: Unless a recipe calls for cooked meats, measure them uncooked. If your meat is already cooked (like you’d do with meal prepping), then measure it cooked. 🙂

  7. Loved this!! Glad to see bagels are allowed cause I was hesitant to buy them the other day at Costco. And the whole wheat pasta! Thanks for sharing. BTW Chris looks so buff! Haha he looks good:) you too Heidi!

  8. This is awesome – thanks for showing this!! I noticed that you showed corn/flour tortillas, but there wasn’t a big red X through them. I try to stay away from them. What’s your advice?

    Do you think there is much of a difference between whole wheat and whole grain breads? Which one would you suggest?

    1. Hi Cara: Yes, corn tortillas are awesome carb options! And for whole wheat/whole grain, both can be good – choose the one that has the most whole grain ingredients at the beginning of the ingredients list and look for fiber content also. 🙂

  9. Love this video!!! Thanks so much for the tips! When buying marinara sauces is there anything we should look for? Low sugar? Also didn’t realize whole wheat bagels etc are ok still thought they weee high in sugar?

    1. Hi Kim: Yes, go for low-sugar marinara sauces, and whole grain/whole wheat options are awesome, and always choose those with the least amount of sugar. 🙂

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