How a Non-Diet Dietitian Grocery Shops

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I don't know about you but I love being at the grocery store. (Nerd alert) but I get a lot of joy out of walking around, checking out all the options, and tasting samples. It's fun and therapeutic for me. However I fully understand that not everyone shares my affinity for spending time in a grocery store. For some, it can create a lot of anxiety and distress to grocery shop and make food decisions. Those who are in the throes of dieting and diet culture, may feel uncomfortable when walking through certain aisles and feeling  "tempted" by candy, snacks, ice cream etc. The anxious feelings can result from the fundamental principle of dieting; rigidity. On your journey towards intuitive living and eating, strive to make the grocery shopping experience more lighthearted and flexible.  Whenever I go to the store, I usually go through a semi-regular routine. Even though I like to hang out at the grocery, I don't want to have to make a million trips back and forth throughout the week. So, sticking to a few guidelines helps me streamline everything (and save some $$$ on gas).

To be efficient, I first usually do a little bit of meal planning. Sometimes I'll have a craving for a specific meal or ingredient to have that week and I'll either use a tried and true recipe or something new one that I find on Pinterest or other blogs. If I'm not craving anything specific, I'll flip through a few of my favorite cookbooks to get some new ideas. I usually pick two recipes or meal ideas to use throughout the week. Once I have some recipes picked out, I'll make a grocery list of ingredients I'll need, along with kitchen staples to replace and restock.

Next, I make my way to the store. I work through my list and pick out the items I know I'll need. As I walk through the store, I also spend some time checking out new items and picking up some things that look tasty. When writing out my list and thinking about some of the staples I keep on hand, I try to keep things vague so I can have some wiggle room in my choices depending on what sounds good. For example, if I want to restock on cereal, I might not decide which kind to get until I get to the store. I try to make sure I have the option of changing my mind once I get there. This allows me to incorporate more variety, rather than sticking to the same exact foods week in and week out. 

Sometimes, life get busy and I can't do any meal planning or even find time to create a grocery list in general. On these days, I might have to squeeze in grocery shopping between other commitments/errands. When this happens I'll just go to the store and pick up most of the staples I get on a weekly basis and some other items that look good at the time. Is this always ideal? No, but it's okay because it's the best option at the time. 

Overall flexibility is the key here. When you follow the principles of intuitive eating and non diet living, you don't have to feel crazy around food. You can experience freedom in making food choices whether that's when you're out to eat at a restaurant or deciding what to cook at home on a weekly basis. My grocery shopping methods might not be ideal for you in the long run, but it might be a place for you to start, as you move away from dieting, closer to intuitive eating. 

Feel free to leave a comment below if you have questions or more ideas for flexible grocery shopping :)