Thursday, 18 April 2013
Shopping Paleo - My Tips On How Best to Shop Effectively and Efficiently
One area people struggle with when they decide to become Paleo is learning how best to shop. It may seem like an easy task for many of you, but it is surprising how many people never cook and therefore never need to shop properly! I therefore decided to put together a few tips on how best to fill your shopping basket and also how to keep your budget in check! Careful planning and discipline will mean you have everything you need to feed you and your family effectively and efficiently.
1. Plan Your Weekly Menus
For many, planning and consideration of what they plan to eat for the week ahead is unheard of. They prefer to decide on a day to day basis what to eat. This is a big no no. Not only do you inevitably spend more money, you are also likely to pick up bad foods you fancy because a) You are already hungry and b) You "deserve" a treat.
The best way to avoid slip ups and picking up less than desirable food stuffs is to PLAN. If you have a rough idea of what you plan to cook for each meal for the week, as well as plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts, seeds and other snack foods, you are far more likely to just eat good food. I tend to buy the same foods every week and then come up with variations on what to cook with them. For example I will buy a nice rib eye steak for Friday and pair it up with whatever veggies I feel like on the day. I will always have grass fed minced (ground) beef in the freezer (organic if it is pay week!) as well as fresh salmon and free range chicken fillets. By always picking up the staples I know my family enjoy, I can come up with meal ideas day by day. Over time you too will realise you are just buying the same types of meats, paired up with whatever fruits/veg are in season. All you then have to do is make sure you take your protein out of the freezer the night before if necessary and voila, food source sorted! Don't leave your shopping to chance - plan your meals and stick to it.
2. Shop The Outside Aisles Of The Shop!
Think about it; your local supermarket is always laid out with the fresh produce in the outside aisles. Apart from the baked foods (which is always strategically placed near the door to entice you to smell and buy), all the delicious, fresh fruit and vegetables is always on the outside aisles. In my local supermarket, one of the first things I meet is the fruit, followed by the vegetables and fresh meat and fish. This means that the bulk of my weekly shop is done before I even get half way around the shop! Once a month or so I stock up on store cupboard essentials like tinned tomatoes, coconut milk, nut flour etc. It is therefore entirely possible to avoid the centre aisles altogether and along with them the processed "food", cereals and grains that you no longer require! Apart from making your shopping trip shorter, it also means you are less likely to be swayed and tempted by all the marketing strategies undertaken by the processed food industry.
Pick up as much different varieties of the fresh produce as you think your family can consume, while keeping roughly within the meal plans you have already set.
3. Buy In Bulk Where Possible
I usually find that I buy the same items every week, however I pick up extra meats or fish that are on offer to freeze as a cost cutting strategy.
Sometimes we buy a lamb or pig from a local farmer and have it butchered for freezing. This saves loads of money in the long run as well as allowing you to know exactly where your meat came from. If you ask around, you might even find someone willing to split the costs.
4. Read Labels
This is possibly the single most important tip to consider when keeping your diet Paleo. Most of your food should not come in boxes, we all know this. However we sometimes include some tinned or boxed products in our baskets which can be considered Paleo (coconut milk, tinned tomatoes etc). It is very important that we take responsibility for what we are putting into our bodies, and make sure we read the effing labels. Something may look healthy as sin, but read the label and it is full of cheap vegetable oils, gluten or some artificial sweetener like aspartame. The truth is these processed food industries want to make as much profit as possible and using high quality ingredients wont help them achieve this. It is therefore so important to make sure the product you are buying is not bad quality. If possible also choose organic.
5. Do Not Be Tempted By Processed Foods and Treats - (if necessary leave your kids at home).
Not everyone has got to the idealistic stage where the whole family is on board with Paleo. I know my own family is not fully on board, they are a work in process. However I keep the overall eating in the house as Paleo as possible (no processed food, good fats for cooking with etc) However we have all experienced it - the little ones come shopping with us and put their cute little munchkin faces on and say "Mum, please can we have the bagels, I LOVE bagels, we never get bagels anymore" and in a moment of grocery shopping weakness we say "Oh, ok, just one pack". The problem is not just that the little ones will have a freaking bagel.. It is that once the bagels (or whatever processed food your child twisted your arm to buy) has entered the house YOU are also more likely to eat them too. The best way to make sure you don't eat the bad food is to not buy the bad food at all! Simples. If avoiding the processed food aisle is the only way for you to avoid succumbing, then avoid the processed food aisle like the plague. If your children and their damn puppy eyes makes you feel you should buy their love with food (you shouldn't by the way, just say no!) don't bring your children shopping! Even if there is a massive sale on Chicken Pot Noodles and you loved Chicken Pot Noodles BP (Before Paleo) don't buy them! Step away from the pot noodles! As before, the more bad food choices you have in the house, the more likely you are to break your plan and eat them.