The Daily Beet

28 Jan Prepping for the National Challenge: Grocery Shopping

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We’re getting fired up for the National Engine 2 Challenge! You can download the free eBooks, get Rip’s schedule, watch videos, find out which Whole Foods Markets are participating and more on the challenge page! 

Today’s question comes from E2-er, Beth.

“Hi! I HATE grocery shopping!!! I always get confused and overwhelmed. I am not much of a meal planning person, and I hate reading labels but I want to be plant-strong, what can I do?! ”

Here are a few tips to keep your grocery shopping trips a little less stressful:

  • Avoid speciality products. Even if you live in a larger city with a lot of shopping options, it is still important to keep things simple in the grocery store.
  • You can get all of your nutrition from simple ingredients and whole plant-strong foods.
  • Buy dry beans/grains when you can, they will last you a while, and you don’t have to worry about things spoiling.
  • If you’d rather not spend a lot of time cooking beans/grains stock up on low sodium canned/boxed beans, quick cooking brown rice, and other quick cooking grains (quinoa can be cooked in about 10 minutes!). You can also buy frozen grains and beans in most grocery stores.
  • Have a good supply of frozen vegetables and fruit. This will make your life a lot easier when you find yourself with out any fresh vegetables/fruits to use.
  • Make a grocery shopping list, and put things in 5 columns, it should fall under: whole grains, vegetables, fruits, beans, salt free spices. If your item does not fit into one of those categories, there is a good chance you don’t need it!
  • Go into the store, turn right (in most stores that should be the produce aisle). Start your shopping trip out in the produce section. From there ONLY go to the sections of the store that you absolutely need to go to.
  • Organize your food on the cashier belt at the store. This is going to sound silly, but if you organize your groceries the right way, chances are they will be bagged in a way that makes putting away your groceries a lot easier when you get home. So group all of your produce together, all of your frozen stuff and all of your dry stuff. When you get home, you will be glad you did!
  • Buy just enough! Be realistic about your grocery shopping, often we end up buying way too much of something we don’t really enjoy all that much.
  • Speaking of, buy what you like! There is a common misconception that we need a wide variety of fruits/vegetables. So people end up trying to get themselves or their family to eat things they might not enjoy that much. We are all for trying new things, but if you or your family just HATE cauliflower, don’t purchase it. Buy things that you love to eat. If you love spinach but hate kale, buy more spinach. If you love sweet potatoes, buy sweet potatoes. It will cause you a lot less stress, and you will enjoy eating A LOT more. As long as you are eating from those simple food groups, you are going to do pretty well.
  • Spend less time at the grocery store. Have an attack plan, a list, get in, get out. One E2-er told us she likes to play “Super Market Sweep” and sets a timer!
  • If you are wanting to try out a recipe, be sure to write down what you need. OR better yet, purchase a kindle or other e-book reader and put your favorite cookbooks on it! That way you can carry it to the store, and all of the recipes you need are at your finger tips.
  • If you have kids, include them in the process, have them help with a grocery list, have them pick out a few recipes they want to try, and have them pick out a new fruit/vegetable for the family to try. You can also download our free kids eBook and kids series to help kids with plant-strong living. 
  • Check Amazon for ordering things like dry beans, whole grains, low sodium beans and even POMI tomato products! If you have Amazon prime you can get the items shipped to you in 2 days!
  • Most of all, when you are in the grocery store, start thinking “simple” rather than complicated!

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Natala Constantine
  • Kerstin Rosee
    Posted at 08:11h, 29 January

    Good article with helpful hints. I’ve split my weekly groceries over two supermarkets, one a discounter where I can find staples at much better prices. I arrange my shopping list in the order that items are shelved so I don’t have to skip through the list (or the supermarket, for that). With a good list in hand and a long enough leash to allow my partner to browse while I combat-shop, the weekly shop is done in under an hour.

  • Michelle
    Posted at 08:00h, 03 February

    I work Monday through Friday away from home and stay in a hotel. What can I do to stay on top of this program?

  • Julie
    Posted at 16:31h, 05 February

    Hello everyone!
    This is my first week on the E2 Challenge. My problem, is I HATE cereals, warm or cold. It comes from my childhood, being made to eat cereal when I wanted toast. LOL. That’s the truth. And thank goodness I don’t like milk, cheese is another story. Like almost everyone, I love cheeses. So this week being the first and eliminating dairy isn’t really impossible for me. I am just having a problem deciding what to eat for breakfast, besides fruit. I live alone, so cooking for only one makes it a little easier, but I need help with some ideas for a hotn breakfast. I know pancakes, and waffles, not a real favorite. I like more spicy and savory foods than sweet.
    Can anyone help?
    Thank you
    Lawrenceville, Georgia

      Posted at 07:34h, 06 February

      Try polenta with spicy kale. Yummy!

      • Julie
        Posted at 06:57h, 18 September

        I thought polenta was a grain and Paleo eating could not eat grains

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