While do’s and don’ts make it easier while you grocery shop, they may not always be the most practical. Reconsider the rules you’ve made, and soon you’ll find yourself in a healthier, happier place.


How many of you have rules for grocery shopping? If you’re used to restricting your lifestyle based on our society’s definition of wellness, you’re likely telling yourself what you should and shouldn’t be buying as you stroll down the aisles.

But the truth is, it doesn’t have to be this way.

These are simply thoughts you’ve convinced yourself to believe that your cart must be perfect in order to lead a health-conscious life.  Here are a few ways to throw those rules out the window, and consider replacing with a new set instead.

1. Buy foods you actually enjoy.

Don’t like peas? Don’t buy them. Hate olives? You don’t have to eat them. Despise kale? You don’t need it. Squirm at the idea of eating another rice cake? Don’t ever buy a pack again.

Fill your grocery list and grocery cart with the foods that you do like to eat. No matter how healthy you’ve been told a food is, eating should be pleasurable as much and as often as possible.

2. Buy foods you know you’ll eat.

Finding a good deal at the grocery store is great, but don’t contribute to food waste if you don’t have to. If something is canned or frozen, and you have the storage and budget for it while knowing you can work it into future meals, then by all means get it. If it’s something you can substitute out for another item on your list, that works too. But if you’re buying it for the sake of the sale, there’s a chance it will go bad.  That’s the same as throwing away money, and perfectly good food (at least at the time of purchase). 

3. Allow room to try new foods.

Taste is one of our five senses, and is a major way we perceive and experience life. That’s why it’s so important to allow room for exploration with your taste buds.  This can be a vegetable you’ve only tried steamed, but want to try roasted this time around.

It can be a new cheese that sounds weird, smells a bit funny, but interesting enough to give it a try. It may be a frozen dinner that looks easy and delicious, so why not give it a shot when you’ve been running around all week with little time for cooking.

4. Include varied snack items and fun foods.

Snack time is a great way to keep your appetite satisfied so you won’t feel the crash towards the end of your day. Maybe it’s a handful of pretzels, or apples and peanut butter. Try yogurt with granola and fruit, or grab some nuts and seeds. Keep your favorite snack bar around, a PB&J sandwich, or a few pieces of chocolate to make those last couple of hours at work a bit sweeter. Anything can be a snack, as long as it satiates your hunger during non-meal times.

5. Know that there are no rules.

While the above may sound like ‘rules’ themselves, in reality, there are no actual rules. Consider incorporating the above four guidelines as much as possible, but you can do whatever you so please with your personal grocery list, shopping experience, and what you cook for you and your family.

What is strongly discouraged are any rigid rules that puts limitations on what you can and cannot have, because for the majority of individuals (who do not have an allergy), all foods can fit into your life.

You make the food rules, so go ahead and break them.

Adapted from the original article.

Amanda Boyer MS, RDN, CD, CPT is the wholehearted dietitian and owner of Wholehearted Nutrition located in southern Indiana. She strives to help others live life without holding back (her definition of what it means to live wholeheartedly), by walking with them in their journey to better their relationship with food, practice joyful movement, and settle into body peace. To learn more find Amanda at www.wholeheartednutrition.org, watch for her contributions on NASM’s blog and the Limestone Post, and follow her on Instagram and facebook @wholehearteddietitian.

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