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Panic in the Grocery Store

Panic at the Grocery Store: Plans, Strategies, and Weapons.

"Grocery Shopping"........2 words that have the potential to make even the bravest want to turn and run. Unarmed, the whole grocery store experience can cause real panic. There you are standing at the store entrance, both hands on the grocery cart in front of you, with innumerable choices ahead of you, and no weapons. You have neither a plan nor a strategy. No coach would send their team on to the field without a game plan. No General would send his troops into battle without a strategy. Going to the grocery store is no different. You need a plan. You need a strategy.  You need weapons! You can change the entire grocery store experience with just a few simple "rules to shop by,"  a few simple tools, and an app or two as your weapons!  Stay calm. Don't panic. Read on.

There are 2 basic grocery shopping rules that most of us are familiar with:
Rule #1- Never shop when you're hungry, and  Rule #2 - Make a list and stick to it.

Rule #1 needs little explanation. Shopping hungry leads to poor food choices. Period.

Rule #2 is where things can start getting complicated, and grocery store panic begins! How do I know what to put on the list? How do you even create that list? Stay calm.  Don't panic. Let's get started.
You can either create a hard copy list with pen and paper or create a digital list on your phone. Whatever method you choose, just be sure you have a list.  I create my grocery list in "notes" on my phone. Some grocery stores like Smiths and Albertsons have their own app where you can build your grocery list and it will conveniently tell you which aisle the product is in. This keeps you from having to comb every aisle, saving you time, money and poor food choices! Your list should contain staples that you always have on hand such as fruits and vegetables, peanut butter, bread, eggs, milk, frozen and canned items, etc. Include any ingredients needed for specific meals you have in mind for the coming week. Maybe you discovered a new recipe that sounded enticing and needs the ingredients for that meal. Put them on your list. Once you've created your list, it's time to shop! Panic escalates. So.Many.Choices.

According to the March 2014 issue of Consumer Reports magazine,  the Food Marketing Institute reported that between 1975 and 2008, the number of products in the average grocery store rose from an average of 8948 products to almost 47,000. That's a lot of decisions to be made in one trip to the grocery store. Anxiety! Did you know that there can be over 11 varieties of Cheerios to choose from? Anguish!

With so many choices, and so much confusing (and misleading) information on the fronts of boxes, how do we know which products are healthy? Which products contain unhealthy ingredients? Stay calm. Don't Panic. There's an app for that!

Here's where you need to arm yourself with decision making, choice narrowing weapons! My grocery store weapon of choice is an app called NxtNutrio. (iPhone and Android friendly.) Created by Healthy Pantry, the app allows you to scan the barcode of a food product and get information about the nutritional value of that food, as well as a rating for that food. The food will either receive a green check, a yellow question mark or a red "X." If you have specific food allergies or sensitivities, or if there are certain foods you wish to avoid, you can enter those specific details into your profile. When you scan a food product barcode you will be alerted to the presence of any of those ingredients. This takes the guesswork out of choosing the right product by narrowing down your choices to those that are better for you. Zero guesswork, fewer choices, less anxiety, less panic at the grocery store.

So far, you have a plan - your list. and you have a weapon - the NxtNutrio App. What about your strategy?

With your list and your app, head first to the produce section. Getting your produce first sets the tone for a healthier trip. You're less likely to add unhealthy foods to your cart when all those lovely fresh fruits and vegetables are looking up at you from the cart!  Next, go to the meat dept. The produce and the meat departments are located on the outside edges of the store. Stick to the perimeter of the store, only going down the aisles where items on your list are stocked. No shortcuts through the cookie or snack aisle! If I need 2 cans of black beans from the bean aisle, I leave my cart at the end of the aisle and cart-lessly go get my beans. I can't carry much else, so I won't be tempted to load up on things I shouldn't' be buying anyway. Only need one item from the cereal or bread aisle? Go cart-less! Get into the habit of NxtNutrio scanning everything before you put it in your cart. When you have all of the items on your list, head immediately to the checkout line. No loitering and wandering the aisles. That leads to bad choices. And never buy items that are strategically located on the checkout lines. They are impulse items, and are never your healthiest choice!

No more panic at the Grocery store because you are armed with a plan, a strategy, and a weapon!

Happy healthy grocery shopping in the new year!
Coach Zoe and the team at Elevate Sports Performance & Chiropractic

P.S. Next week we'll talk about a healthy kitchen and pantry, as well as a game you can play in your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer!!

In case you missed it, you here is the link to the  first part of this series "Start Simple, Start Small"