Meet guest blogger Cynthia Parrott, a busy working woman who manages to find the time for fitness, diet and the writing of great advice for health-conscious women like you.
One of the most tedious chores for us women has to be... grocery shopping.
Supermarkets are the size of shopping malls. They're overstocked with so many different choices and varieties of everything under the sun that a shopping trip can last hours and quickly empty our wallets.
I cannot count the number of times I went to the supermarket with good intentions and ended up with something completely different: a toaster (mine was getting old), a couple of DVDs (they were on sale), a frozen lasagna large enough feed an army (the commercial said serving this will bring my family together), and a big bag of potato chips (to eat on the way home because I was starving).
It was as if I was possessed by some kind of superstore super demon that dragged me up and down each and every product-cluttered aisle. This demon forced me to buy items I didn't really want and stuff I didn't really need.
I would begrudgingly fork over my hard-earned money, push my overflowing shopping cart that now weighed as much as a small car out the door, and then come to the shocking realization that I never did buy what I REALLY needed in the first place!
There has to be a better, quicker, more efficient way to do this, right?
Supermarket Sense to the rescue. Supermarket Sense is shopping tips and advice to get you in and out of the store as quickly as possible. The goal: To get you a cartful of products you actually need... and chip-free food choices you'll feel good about!
1. Shop only once a week or every other week.
You might not think you have a block of time to do this, but if you add up all the trips to the store to pick up something quick for dinner or lunch, the driving back and forth, time spent waiting on checkout lines and the loading and unloading of packages, you will find that you actually spend less time by setting aside an hour or two to get it all done in one extended visit.
2. Prepare a weekly menu.
If you know what the plan is for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day, it will be easy to shop for the week. There is nothing more frustrating or time-consuming than wandering aimlessly through the store wondering what on earth to serve for dinner.
If you don't have a plan, you will be tempted to buy quick, pre-packaged processed foods that are loaded with salt, calories and fat.
Ask your family if there are any special meals they would like to have and post the weekly menu on your fridge. Homemade mac 'n cheese on Wednesday night just might bring everyone home on time for dinner!
3. Make a shopping list based on your menu and don't deviate!
March briskly through the store and, as you toss each item into your cart, cross it off your list.
If you shop in the same store all the time you should know where everything is so organize your list according to the store floor plan. Produce sections are usually in the front of grocery stores as soon as you enter, so fruits and vegetables will be the first on the list. Dairy section all the way in the back of your store? Milk, eggs and cheese should be at the bottom of your list.
4. Inventory your pantry & fridge before you shop!
That frozen-solid package of chicken breasts you bought on sale a few weeks ago and never defrosted... Guess what? You are serving chicken a few times THIS week.
Grill some chicken on the BBQ, cook some up to make chicken salad for lunch, cut the rest into strips and have fajitas another night! When you go to the store, don't buy any more chicken until you have used what you already have.
I promise... chicken WILL go on sale again!
5. Shop the perimeter during quick-hit store runs.
I know this is very hard for some of you. It may even sound impossible for you to do. But visualize how your favorite store is arranged: the produce, dairy, butcher and deli, and bread sections are all situated on the outer edges of the store.
Every aisle in between is loaded with expensive, prepackaged, processed, unnecessary items.
The frozen food section is the worst of all. Attractively displayed in glass door cases you will find everything from frozen mozzarella sticks that pop in the oven for a snack while watching TV to frozen faux food-in-a-bag you will be tempted to serve your family for dinner. These are unhealthy, loaded with preservatives, fat and unwanted calories you don't need -- especially if you want to stay healthy and maintain a comfortable weight.
If you must go into the frozen food section, leave your cart outside the aisle, and get ONLY what you need and ignore everything else. If you shop this way, you will find that you are eating healthier and spending less money.
6. NEVER go to the store hungry!
Food shopping on the way home from work sounds like a great time-saving idea. But if you have not eaten a meal in several hours you will be subject to impulse buying. And, trust me, that can get really ugly!
Do your shopping early in the day or on a Saturday or Sunday morning after a good breakfast. If you honestly don't have time shop in the mornings or on weekends, make sure you eat a snack before you go.
You will not be as tempted to buy those fresh donuts calling your name from the bakery aisle.
7. Stock up on non-food essentials at another time.
You are going to the market to buy FOOD. Set aside a time once a month -- or every other month -- to shop for items such as toiletries, laundry items and paper goods.
If you don't have time to divide your shopping this way, consider taking advantage of grocery stores that deliver. Waldbaum's and Stop & Shop have online shopping services that I use.
I order what I want and need online from the comfort of my home and the store delivers it to my front door. I buy all my paper products, pet food, canned items, baking needs and other essentials that are not considered REAL food this way. It saves me time, aggravation and money!
Grocery shopping doesn't need to be such a chore. Not when you apply some Supermarket Sense and your next experience!
About Cynthia Parrott
I am a Certified Holistic Health and Nutritional Counselor. My company is Metamorphosis Consulting and I have been in private practice for over 10 years. I believe we can completely transform our lives by nourishing our bodies, our minds, and our spirits. It is my desire to help others achieve their health and nutritional goals, their personal goals, and to live the life they have always dreamed of. If you want to learn more about what I do, visit me at www.truemetamorphosis.org and www.cyndaily.com