Have you ever walked into the grocery store and had no idea what to get? Or felt a flicker of extreme confusion/panic that you still don’t really know what the heck to eat?
I get it. I used to feel the same way too. So I definitely know that feeling!
Recently, I had a newish client meet me at Wholefoods.
I had given her a list to start out with, and I was going to meet her about 20 minutes after she started shopping, so then we were going to pickup some things together.
She ended up getting there kind of late, and I happened to be only a few feet behind her when she got the cart and walked through the automatic, revolving doors. I watched the whole thing! Once inside, I saw her sigh visibly and briskly look to the left and right and left again, as if scanning the landscape for wild animals, potential snipers, or other dangers.
She then started scrambling around for her phone, which I knew was to check out the list I emailed her.
Her face switched from resignation to slight confusion to a quasi-panic as she scrambled around. Where is that list?!
I could almost here her screaming in her head. What am I supposed to get? What am I supposed to eat??
I want you to never have to feel that way!
The “what should I be getting/what should I be eating” way at the grocery store is frustrating. It can make you feel lost, inadequate (after all the food info you’ve probably read)…but it’s no wonder it can be confusing.
There are a zillion items at the store, and so much conflicting information, that it can leave you feeling like the grocery store is more confusing than trying to remember all the characters and their backstory in Lord of the Rings, if you are not that into science fiction (like me :)).
While the specific veggies and produce items I get does vary from season to season, I am going to give you the basic map of my grocery store strategy, below. Check it out. Hopefully this map is going to give you some solid guidance for your grocery sessions, like a trusty beauty food compass.
I always enter through the entrance next to the produce (if there is one), and the greens area is always my first stop.
Check that. Actually, my first first stop is the disinfecting wipes you can use to wipe down your cart.
I’m not usually a big germ-aphobe (otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to backpack through rural China and India as long as I have), but I read something once about the micro state of squalor on the handles of grocery carts, and …well you know when something sticks in your head?
Let’s just say I wipe down the cart first, then my hands. THEN I am ready to start!
The greens section of the grocery store feels like my warmup.
Yes, warming up to the grocery shopping experience! Getting into the feel, like how you might do some seated twists on your mat before getting into your full yoga practice. It’s good to have the first item you know you pretty much always need, so you can at least check that off the list.
If you can get to the farmer’s market regularly to get your greens, that is the best. But if you are shopping mid-week, or need to supplement with microgreens (pictured above), sprouts (if you didn’t have time to sprout this week- and quite honestly, I haven’t had time in months!), and other varieties of greens, get ‘em first.
I like to rotate mache, arugula, chard, different kale, mixed greens, whatever I see, really.
Then I load up on some fruit. And yes, thankfully they are in the same section. It’s always good to get seasonal stuff, which includes berries right now.
And again, if you can get to your farmer’s market and get fruit, even if it’s once a week, that is even better. But with travel and meetings, as I have been swamped with, I do need to supplement at the grocer…and here’s where I load up on local fruit and some staples, like bananas.
The next thing I get is some Glowing Green Smoothie™ material- you know! Lemons, celery, cilantro. I admit this does not happen on a weekly basis anymore since I get most of my GGS’s from Glow Bio (I know, lazy, lazy! But I need time savers whenever I can take them!).
BUT when I am in Florida or at my parents’ or elsewhere, I definitely get all our classic GGS items. And cilantro is always part of that list, since some research has found it can help chelate (bind) to heavy metals and escort them out of the body.
Heavy metals can be the source of lots of aging free radicals in your body, so it’s good to incorporate strategies/foods, such as cilantro (and infrared saunas, by the way), to help purge those bad boys out!
I almost always grab some heads of Lacinato or curly kale, as Dharma’s Kale Salad is a big staple for dinner for me.
It’s no secret I LOVE purple cabbage. It’s high in Vitamin C, fiber, minerals and fiber…and you can get a head of it and slice it into salads, wraps…so many dishes over your weight.
Cent for cent, it’s a pretty amazing beauty food that is inexpensive and so happily colorful it will brighten up your dishes too!
While I’m in the general vicinity, I go for it…veggie love! I grab whatever looks good and whatever I’m feeling like eating.
I like stuff for my salads, like raw radishes, and also mushrooms I can easily throw in the oven and roast…or broccoli I can stir fry with tempeh or quinoa or whatever.
So always grab a bunch of veggies you are feeling.
Okay… so by now you should have a good amount of stuff! You should be very proud of yourself thus far.
Grounding Starchy Veggies
I like to get a few varieties of these when I shop.
- They keep for a while, especially for emergency meals later in the week
- They are filling and when paired with a salad, can make a great meal
- They digest well
- I toss them in the oven and do other stuff (shower, emails, phone calls, pick lemons in my yard….) and then voila! They are magically ready to eat!
Organic, non-GMO tempeh is fermented and digests easier and is generally considered more healthful than tofu.
I keep it in my fridge for SUPER fast meals as it is already pre-cooked. I just cut it into cubes, and stir-fry it quickly with some of the veggies I got (a la above). It doesn’t need much- some spices, tamari, nutritional yeast, whatever.
It’s my answer to microwave meals!
Now that spring is rolling around, I notice I’ve been craving coconut water a lot again!
Spring/summer are THE months for cooling coconut water, which is hydrating (so important for beautiful skin!), full of potassium and electrolytes.
Choose brands not from concentrate, and in glass or non-BPA, non-leachable containers, rather than aluminum cans.
If you don’t have time to make your own Probiotic & Enzyme Salad, pick up some raw kraut for sure! I always grab a jar/container if I don’t have a batch going (sadly I do not this week).
But not so sadly is the fact you can get some raw kraut at many local farmers’ markets now, or you can get organic brands at many health grocers.
I always load up on some bin goodies…just to have on hand if I am low. So great to keep stocked in your pantry for quick meals!
Quinoa (I rotate multi-colored, yellow, etc.), lentils (soak well! Not a weekly item but here and there), red or black rice, etc…
Sea veggies are great and great for your hair. If you are okay with the taste (the leaves taste better than the flakes), grab them and add them to your salad. ‘Nuff said!
I do love treats :). Especially when I am writing a lot. My go-to treat is just a plain bar of dark organic chocolate.
I’m not really a big baked goodie fan or a cold dessert fan, like ice cream, BUT if I do feel like those items I will make my Vegan, Gluten-free Brownie recipe for the former, or get some coconut ice cream for the latter…but most often, its’ just good old chocolate!
PS: I keep it in my freezer, which also helps prevent me from staring at it every time I open the fridge, which leads to more little nips here and there…
Of course, when I am making a specific recipe or have a specific meal planned out, I will make more specific recipe lists, or have to get some specific items.
But I hope this general grocery store map gives you some ideas about what you can check off for most/a lot of your trips, so you always have some items in mind to grab.
We need not ever feel lost, or confused again!
How do you navigate the grocery store?
Share your Beauty Food grocery adventure in the comments below!