5 Things to Avoid While Grocery Shopping

Streamline your grocery shopping experience and get the most out of each trip!

Grocery shopping can be a huge hassle. The parking lot is always packed, it’s hard to get around the crowded aisles with those bulky shopping carts, and if you’re not prepared, the whole experience can take up a good portion of your day. Add a few kids in tow and I’d rather be anywhere else than at the grocery store. Unfortunately, if you’re trying to eat healthier, grocery shopping is an essential part of your new wellness plan. We wanted to help you make the most of your weekly trip by pointing out these five things to avoid while grocery shopping.

There are a ton of tips and tricks to avoid spending extra time (and money) at the store, but we wanted to focus on the five major pitfalls that most people experience. If you can conquer these five things to avoid while grocery shopping, it should ensure that your shopping experience is quick, easy, and efficient. These tips will also help you from being struck with buyers remorse as you unpack your bags!

1. Avoid Going Without a Plan

You wouldn’t go to war without a battle strategy, right? So the top of our list of things to avoid while grocery shopping is going to the store without a plan! Before you go grocery shopping, arm yourself with a detailed list and budget!

A good grocery list will have items grouped together in different sections, like frozen, produce, dairy, etc. It also follows your normal shopping route throughout the store. Wandering aimlessly around the store is a huge time waster; if you want to get in, out, and on with your life, you need that grocery list! Unless, of course, you’re a mom enjoying her free-time sans children. If that’s the case, please continue sipping your mocha frappe as you wander the aisles in child-free bliss!

It’s also a good idea to have a rough idea of your budget. You could spend some seriously unnecessary dollars if you aren’t aware of what your ingredients cost! Compare brand pricing and choose the right size item that fits in your budget. Don’t get tricked into spending $12 on a bulk “deal” if the $2 package is more than sufficient for your needs!

2. Avoid Going on an Empty Stomach

I’m sure you’ve heard (and experienced) this one before, but it’s definitely worth repeating. For goodness sake, make sure you have at least had a snack before you step foot in that grocery store! Your stomach can certainly override your better judgement in the throes of hunger.

If you’re trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, shopping on an empty stomach is one of the best things to avoid while grocery shopping. Cookies, snack cakes, and easy-to-open packages start to look really appealing when your tummy is growling in protest!

3. Avoid Impulse Buys

I’m totally guilty of this: I’m a classic peruser of the clearance section at my favorite grocery store. It’s a huge time waster, and I usually end up bringing home tacky toy for my kids. I’m also quite known for returning home with seasoning blends or kitchen utensils I don’t need. I just convince myself that they’re such good buys, it would be irresponsible of me not to purchase them at their bargain price.

Don’t be like me: Stick to your plan! One of the best ways to adhere to your budget is to add this to your list of things to avoid while grocery shopping. Don’t mindlessly dig through the clearance bin in the hopes of finding some “treasure” that you can’t live without. Chances are good that you’ll find it, but it ends up sitting in a kitchen drawer forever until you actually need it (and, in that case, you’ll never find it!). Just. Don’t. Do. It.

You may also be interested in these 10 Money-Saving Grocery Tips and 5 Simple Grocery Store Swaps to Save Cash,

4. Avoid Foods with a Long List of Unfamiliar Ingredients

At SkinnyMs., we love to promote a clean and healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, there are foods that just don’t fit into any healthy diet. Avoid choosing foods that have more than a handful of unrecognizable ingredients. The longer the ingredients list, the longer the words are (and, the less likely it is to be a healthy choice!).

Also, be aware that certain ingredients can go by many different names. For example, lemon juice can be listed as citric acid, which sounds a bit more menacing. On the flip side, there are 56 different names for sugar that can be used in an ingredient list. Educate yourself as much as possible to navigate those nutrition labels!

Check out The Whole Foods Shopping List for a list of whole food ingredients to include in your shopping!

5. Avoid the Center Aisles if Possible

It’s no secret that grocery stores design their layout to get you to buy, buy, buy. Their displays are meant to grab your attention and convince you that you just HAVE to have that item (all the cool kids are buying it). They want you to wander up and down the aisles and find new and delicious goodies around every corner. This is one of those things to avoid while grocery shopping: Don’t get sucked into that trap!

Stay on the outside perimeter of the store, if possible. This is where the really important stuff is located (like meat, seafood, dairy, deli, produce, and bakery items). If you simply MUST venture into the center aisles, make like a soldier performing an extraction; just grab what you came for and get out! Look neither left nor right!

I hope this list of five things to avoid when grocery shopping helps you to streamline your grocery shopping experience and get the most out of each trip. For more tips, see our 10 Secret Grocery Shopping Tips You Need to Know.

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Chef Heather

Heather is a trained chef and writer from Houston, TX. She has a degree in culinary arts, and is married to her culinary school sweetheart who is also a chef. Heather has a passion for creating healthy meals that don't sacrifice on flavor. She loves Crossfit and is always looking for ways to make healthier versions of her favorite meals. Heather believes the secret to sticking with any healthy meal plan is to include foods that you really enjoy!

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