Fresh off the Huff: Food Shopping

I regularly read articles and blog posts from the Huff post website. I think they’re very interesting and very American. (I am English, born and raised in the Midlands, England) I have borrowed a blog post and anything in italics is my voice, so to speak.

Today I stumbled across a blog about mistakes made while shopping. I believe the majority of Brits are also guilty of these sins too!

5 Mistakes People Make at the Grocery Store

Katie Hill 01/15/14 09:04 AM ET

What do root canals, pelvicexams, filing taxes, car repairs, and grocery shopping have incommon? Absolutely nothing, except they are all life activities I we despise with the intensity of a thousand white-hot suns.

As a health coach, I’ve noticed my distain for this household chore is not uncommon. No, I have to agree, it’s more of an unpopular chore for me. Many of my clients feel overwhelmed and anxious when faced with a warehouse full of food. Trolley rage kicks in for me not so much anxiety just pure anger. Part of the reason this necessary evil is difficult is that many of us make a few big mistakes when it comes to shopping for our food. Agreed!

Here are the five most common mistakes;

1. Going to the grocery store only once per week. Guilty as charged!

This is a very common way for American and British people to shop. We fill up our mega-carts trolleys to the point of exploding once per week and hope that this haul will last us for the entire week. Which it never does.Because of this strategy, the average shopper buys more foods with a longer shelf life, which equals more processed food. Many of us get pretty freaked out and angry when our expensive groceries rot because we can’t get to them fast enough. This week I through 500g of minced beef out because it was brown. It was still well in date. No lasagne for us this week. However the nature of whole, natural food is that it will eventually go bad if you don’t eat it or freeze it. If you buy less food more frequently, you will save money I disagree, my father shops daily and spends on average double the amount I do a week. They do have fresh food in your their belly on a regular basis. This adds up to happy tummies and happier wallets. Tummies in my house are atleast half the size as in my parents household.

2. Shopping without a plan. I always plan, but never stick to it.

Many people have a list when they shop, but one mistake I see is that the items on the list don’t add up to well-coordinated meals. I shop in Asda and use the Asda android app. I find I can literally shop from home and before I’m committed to buy the goods I am well aware of the cost. Before you venture to the store, know what you need for three meals per day for 2-3 days. Shop only for those nine meals. I’ve personally made the mistake of going to the store with a list of foods only to get home and have nothing to eat. I have dinner sussed but not the rest of the day. There are no light snacks or sandwich fillers. It bugs me. I’m not sure how it happens, but if I don’t plan at least a few meals and then purchase the ingredients, we end up going out to eat while the random carrots, cabbage and canned pumpkin sit at my house wondering why they were purchased in the first place. Going out to eat is such a rarity in this house. It’s way to expensive. My daughter is lactose intolerant too so going out isn’t always easy.

3. Shopping witha totally full stomach. By the time I have to drag myself around Asda, I have no food in the house. This is a vicious circle.

So by now, we all know that shopping when you are starving is a horrible idea. Amusing to my partner when he spots me munching a 30p meat and potato pasty while I’m shopping. This is how you end up rationalizing that Ho Hos (not sure what HoHos are) are healthy and five pounds of deli mac and cheese is a fantastic idea. We can’t get deli mac & cheese here, tins it is! I think it’s almost unnecessary to teach that lesson.

The issue I am seeing in my clients is that they are taking the “don’t go shopping hungry” edict a bit too far. They go out for brunch, eat a ton of food, feel stuffed to the gills, go to the store and buy absolutely nothing edible. While they are stocked on paper towels and soap, they end up back at the store the next day for some actual food. Not guilty your honour. The best strategy is to build your list and go to the store when you are neither too full nor too empty. Take the middle path. Just be sure that there are enough pennies to pay for your shopping and that while building your list you haven’t left yourself without toilet roll or tea bags!

4. Buying too many “healthy” convenience foods.

Food marketers rejoice at new food fads. Knowing that a fad exists means that there are hundreds of new processed foods that look really healthy on the package, but really are just another wolf or horse in sheep clothing. Just because it is “paleo approved” or “gluten-free” or “organic and natural” doesn’t necessarily mean it is a healthy choice. Free from foods are a God send to people that really suffer like people with Coeliacs (silly disease) disease. Or those that have an intolerance to Lactose (the sugar found in milk) Stick to eating real food, not food that comes in a package that would last a nuclear holocaust, and you’ll end up eating the best way for your body. Buy fresh, eat fresh…it is always the plan but never happens. It’s just too expensive.

5. Not knowing when your local store restocks. Asda is daily. But due to complaints from neighbours of my local store, the times have had to change due to noise pollution, apparently. It’s still daily though

The key to buying the freshest food is knowing when your store restocks. Lidl is the bwst place for fresh produce Ask the manager what days of the week major restocking happens, and plan to shop on those days. I am lucky that I have two stores that I rotate that stock on different days. Buying food that is closest to being just picked can be challenging, but at least you’ll know that it hasn’t been sitting on the shelves forever. This goes for fruits and veggies most obviously, but also should be taken into consideration when buying high quality protein sources. AKA meat! Knowing when the meat comes off the truck and into the store will put you in a better place to buy fresh. I know Asda now vacuum pack the majority of their ‘fresh’ meat giving it a long life. Instead of bacon rashers I buy cooking bacon. It’s not as pleasing to the eye but is a damn site cheaper and lasts such a long time.

By avoiding some of the big mistakes when it comes to the grocery store Supermarket, perhaps you can find some enjoyment in the process. When all else fails, here’s one last trick. Delegate. If you can I, for one, have most of my shopping to the most patient grocery shopper in the world, my husband My partner is worse than me and despises Asda!. I would love to hear your tips and tricks.

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