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!
- Protein Confusion: Your Questions Answered!
- Fiber & Fitness: How Fiber Can Impact Your Transformation Goals
- Afraid of Fat: The Good, the Bad, and a Loaded Avocado Recipe!
- Eat Your Veggies: Fun Facts + Fave Recipes
- Bye, Bye Bland: Top 5 Herbs & Spices to Flavor Healthy Meals
- Carb Confusion
- Fruit: The Healthiest Way to Cure That Sweet Tooth
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.
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
I love this! Trying to feed 5 picky eaters in this house. Love your tips.
I grill my meat in bulk too, but also my veggies! Costco has a great selection of organic produce that I roast in bulk and portion into sandwich bags. 🙂
Grocery shopping can be so stressful! Thank you for the tips!
Agreed! Grocery shopping is the worse! We go early Monday mornings to avoid the crowds. We are able to get in and out! I meal plan every Sunday night and would be lost without my list!!
I love this!!! I wish my hot hubby followed me around the grocery store, I mean went with me ? I need to stick to this layout of grocery shopping! Thank you!!!!
Love all the tips to pick better choices!
These are great tips! I know this isn’t the post where you recommended Halo ice cream but I have to say thank you!!! Amazing recommendation!
Thank you for sharing these tips with us. Always love learning more about carb cycling and what foods are best!!
I too HATE grocery shopping!! I’d much rather clean toilets. I’ve been taking advantage of online ordering recently. Has saved me a ton of grief. Plus, my son is battling brain cancer and I don’t go anywhere but the hospital. So having the ability to order online and pickup from my car is amazing.
is Ashley. I?m a stay at home mom to my beautiful 1 year old daughter Penelope. We are from Nebraska. I love watching you and your husbands show on tv. I also follow you both on instagram and your blogs. I recently started my own weight loss journey after realizing I needed to make a change for not only myself but my daughter. I have completely changed my eating and work out habits. I don?t have as much to loose as your extreme weight loss clients but I?m happy to say I?m down 35 lbs and 25 lbs away from my goal. I would love to win your stroller. It would be such a nice ride for my daughter as I take her on all my work outs. I don?t belong to a gym so everything I do is outside! Thanks you for all you and your husband do to inspire people like me to get healthy! You guys have been such an inspiration to me!