A few weeks ago on Instagram I shared a behind-the-scenes look at my grocery shopping routine at Natural Grocers, as well as some of my new favorite products they’re carrying! Today, I’m super excited to be sharing with you some of my personal tips and tricks for quick and easy grocery shopping + how to fill a healthy cart, as well as some of my FAVE new products I’m finding at Natty G’s!
Tip #1: Shop around the perimeter of the store FIRST!
This is something I have been doing for a while and end up telling ALL of my clients to do as well- it makes grocery shopping TOO EASY!
If you think about the layout of a grocery store, pretty much all of the whole-foods are around the perimeter. The vegetables, fruits, meat, etc. are always around the outer walls of the store no matter which store you decide to shop at. The inside shelves are typically filled with what I like to call “food products”- things that are processed and packaged to some extent. These shelves are where you want to go AFTER you have loaded up on REAL food from around the perimeter of the store. So next time you’re at the grocery store, load up on all of your REAL FOOD first, and then fill in the gaps with your food products after.
Tip #2: READ INGREDIENTS LISTS, NOT NUTRITION LABELS!
Old school nutrition preaches to everyone that they should be solely concerned about the nutrition label on a food package, and this couldn’t be further from the truth.
This old school nutrition label includes information like total calories, grams of protein, grams of carbs, percentage of fat, amount of sodium, serving size, etc. which is all based on a USDA/FDA regulated system. Though these points are all interesting to take into consideration, the MORE IMPORTANT thing to look at when viewing a packaged food product is the INGREDIENTS LIST!
Ingredients are what make up the nutrition label- obviously. When thinking about a whole-foods based diet (which our bodies are literally created for) it is important to make sure we are filling our fuel tanks with as much REAL FOOD as possible. Next time when looking at a packaged food product, check out the ingredients list FIRST and make sure you recognize all of the ingredients and can feel confident about putting those foods into your body.
Tip #3: Go in with a plan + some recipe ideas.
When making a big change with your nutrition + lifestyle, tackling the grocery store and figuring out how to navigate it with a new mindset can be SUPER challenging! A huge suggestion + tip I always tell clients is to find some simple, exciting, appetizing, and EASY recipes before going to the grocery store. Find a new favorite cook book, search online for some delicious blog posts + recipes, and write down a grocery list for yourself. Take away some of the stress!
Learning how to cook intuitively takes some time, so go easy on yourself and just find some easy recipes to follow to “dip a toe in the water” as you make changes. It took me YEARS to walk into a grocery store with confidence when I didn’t have a list for specific recipes. Over time as you continue to learn new skills in the kitchen, cooking intuitively without following a recipe becomes easy and exciting. Until then, don’t judge yourself! Find some recipes that excite you and get cookin’!
Tip #4: If you dont buy it, you wont eat it.
This is an age old idea. If there’s certain foods you’re trying to avoid for any given reason (food allergies, sensitivities, trying to reduce processed sugars, etc.) the easy thing to do would be to just NOT buy those foods so you dont have to see them in front of your face every time you open the fridge or pantry. This tip is much easier said than done, because we ALL have cravings!
I remember when I first started eating paleo to heal my gut and help with my anxiety, it was super hard to see a ton of ice cream + other snacks in the house. To make things easier on myself, I just stopped buying those products for the “just in case” moments because I wanted to TRULY commit to healing myself from the inside out. So if you’re at all like me when I first started cleaning up my diet to heal myself, just dont buy the foods you know are going to make you feel like crap. Easy as that.
Tip #5: Find quality alternatives to your childhood favorites
As a Holistic Nutritionist, 90% of my new clients think I’m there to slap their hands and tell them “NO!” if they want to eat something “bad”. First of all, I dont care what you eat! I really could care less. Everyone makes their own choices, and I dont judge anyone for what they eat- “good” or “bad”. Bottom line is you’re the one who gets to live in your own body, so I think you’re pretty darn okay to make your own choices.
Secondly- there are some foods out there that are just NOT conducive to optimal body function. This doesn’t mean they’re “good” or “bad”- it just means some foods may make you FEEL better than others. Point blank.
With that in mind- I think we all have some childhood favorites that maybe aren’t the highest of quality. For me, there are so many foods that come to mind. Cereal, cheesecake, ice cream, pizza, etc. As I’ve grown up and had varying health challenges, It’s not about completely getting rid of the foods I love (like some of the goodies listed above), but rather improving the QUALITY of those foods to fit my ever-changing needs.
For example: If I were to eat a whole piece of cheesecake right now, I’d likely have a massive stomach ache for at least one full day along with some other not so pleasant symptoms. Does this mean I should completely remove this delicious treat from my diet? In my opinion- NO. BUT- I should definitely find an alternative that gives me all the same satiety cues without all of the stomach pain. My alternative for cheesecake- a raw cheesecake made with cashews and dates and other goodness.
The point here- you dont have to get rid of your favorites- just improve the quality of the ingredients.
And now onto some of new favorite goodies I’ve been finding at Natural Grocers!
Again- going back to food quality- these are some of my absolute favorite treats! All full of REAL ingredients that you can read and understand, and the flavor is out of this world delicious! Out of all of these, I have to say Honey Mama’s Lavender Red Rose Raw Chocolate is my absolute favorite!
These are some of my go-to beverages. I always have a ton of Health Ade Kombucha in our fridge- kind of goes without saying if you’ve been following me for quite some time! We also don’t consume much caffeine, and Teeccino is our favorite herbal coffee alternative at the moment. REBBL Reishi Chocolate is one of my favorite elixir’s (tastes just like a superfood chocolate milk!), as well as the Teaonic ” I love my adrenals” tea- my favorite go-to when I’m having a stressful day!
These are some of my favorite chips, crackers, and bread. Since we’re gluten free in the Crowell household, all of these products are DELICIOUS and GF. Canyon Bakehouse has been my fave GF bread for years now- so soft and delicious! You really cant tell that its GF. Simple Mills crackers- nuff said. They’re the bomb! AND As you all know… I cannot stop eating Lesser Evil Snacks Paleo Puffs!!!! They’re so insanely delicious and Natural Grocers is always stocked up on them! Of course, Jacksons Honest chips- cant live without this local CO brand!
ALLL THE GRASSFED BUTTER! Seriously though, Kerrygold is the absolute BEST grassfed butter I think I’ve ever had. We’re always stocked up on this stuff because we put it in literally EVERYTHING. GT’s new CocoYo fermented coconut yogurt is also a new fave- Denali likes it too! It’s loaded with billions of probiotics and has the most perfect creamy, smooth texture. Malk is definitely my go-to non-dairy milk in the grocery store. It has the most simple ingredients and tastes just like I made my own homemade nut milk! Kite Hill- YUM! I think we’re all aware at this point how insanely delicious Kite Hill’s almond-cream cheese spreads are. My personal fave is their Chive flavor.
Natural Grocers just started releasing some products from their private label, and let me tell you…. EVERYTHING is so incredibly fresh! From the canned heirloom tomatoes to the canned beans and everything else, they’re quickly becoming my favorite. Again- ingredients are super important to me, and all of these food products are super clean with no funky additives. We’ve been buying NG’s eggs for a long time now, and they’re full of orange yolks every time! There are so many marketing terms around eggs now- be sure to find TRULY Pasture- Raised eggs for the highest nutrient quality! And.. I had to slip in my favorite trail mix for you guys! I’m completely obsessed with the ‘Snack Attack Mix”, mostly because it has little chocolate chunks in it 😉
When picking up a cleaner lifestyle, condiments can be super intimidating. BUT- there’s no excuse for nasty fillers and crap even in condiments these days! Products from these companies shown here are loaded with REAL FOOD sure to make you feel great and lack nasty things like corn syrup and other not so great fillers + food colorings. Sir Kensington’s just came out with an entire line of RANCH! From pizza, classic, buffalo, etc.- you’re going to have your mind blown. I’m also obsessed with Primal Kitchen Foods dressings + sauces, as well as Coconut Aminos in place of soy sauce. Coconut oil is another staple in our house, and my go-to is this amazingly fresh Dr. Bronner’s coconut oil! It’s in a glass jar, so you dont get any of that weird plastic flavor leaking into the coconut oil, and it’s whole kernel cold pressed- the highest quality you can get! The taste is amazing.
The BEST local + seasonal produce!! Always loving the huge, fresh selection of fruits and veggies at natural grocers. They’re always stocked up on the best stuff, and are always happy to answer questions when I find a new food I dont know how to cook or prepare. They’re also loaded up on tons of nitrate free uncured meats from brands like Applegate and Niman Ranch. And.. random photo in this little collage but I cannot get enough of Bubbies fermented foods!! Their products are properly fermented and not simply tossed into a vinegar base to make pickled foods. The flavor difference is actually insane!
Last but not least- BARS! Natural Grocers has a massive selection of delicious, whole-food based bars. My personal faves are listed here- Larabars, Rx bars, Go Macro, and Primal Kitchen bars.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read through all of my top grocery shopping tips and for checking out some of my new favorite products! Let me know if this is something you’d like me to continue to share as new products hit the market- I’d be happy to keep sharing my honest thoughts with you!
This post is sponsored and paid for by Natural Grocers, a local grocery store I visit frequently and truly love! All opinions are my own.