Healthy Choices Start at the Grocery Store

Healthy Choices Start at the Grocery Store: Part One

The other day something occurred to me, something really important when it comes to having smart food choices in your cupboards: If you want to make consistently good choices about what you’re going to eat, you have to make consistently good choices at the grocery store.

That makes complete sense, right? Generally speaking, the food that ends up in your house is the food you buy at the store. That means if you have six varieties of tortilla chips and enough soda to fill up a kiddie pool in your pantry, it’s because you purchased it. At the grocery store.

Sure, sometimes you end up with leftover takeout, or someone at work sends you home with a cake, but when it comes right down to it, most of the food in your house comes from that place where they sell all the food.

Based on my careful calculations, that means grocery shopping is extremely important. Here’s why making healthy choices starts at the grocery store:

  1. You’re going to eat what’s available. For instance, when you’re absolutely starving after a meeting-filled day at work, you’re going to eat what’s quick and easy. Depending on what happened (or didn’t happen) at the grocery store, that might mean greasy takeout or half a bag of potato chips and a stale cookie, or it could mean a hot meal filled with fiber and all the colors of the rainbow.
  1. You’re going to eat what’s right in front of you. I mean, think about it: When you’re in the mood for a little something, you’re going to choose what you can see. Depending on what’s in your cabinets, that could be a couple of pieces of dark chocolate and a piece of fruit, or it could be a king-size candy bar and three slices of individually wrapped “cheese.” Either way, you’re going to eat it if it’s there!
  1. You’re going to eat what’s easiest. When you wake up hungry, you’re going to want something fast and filling. If your cabinets are bare, you’re going to end up eating a food biscuit sandwich on the way to work. If your cabinets are filled with sugary cereal, well, that’s what will fill your stomach. If you grocery shop smart, you could be sitting down to a­ hot bowl of oatmeal with a side of fruit at your kitchen table within minutes of waking up.
  1. You can’t eat what’s not there! If you are trying to eat more fruits or veggies or fiber, you’re not going to be able to do it if your house is filled with only frozen pizzas, pork rinds, and candy. There’s no way to eat better if the “better” is missing from your kitchen.
  1. The grocery store has everything you need to meet your eating goals…but you have to actually go buy it. If you just think about grocery shopping instead of actually doing it, you’re going to have the same barren cabinets.

The bottom line is that you’re responsible for stocking your house with the types of foods you want to eat, and you’re responsible for keeping the kinds of things you don’t want to eat out of your house. When you have plenty of delicious, nourishing food in the house, it’s that much easier to eat the way you want to.

Check back soon for Part 2 of Jen's Healthy Choices Start at the Grocery Store series.

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