This has been a turbulent relationship from the start. When I first began my journey to better health and nutrition, I was completely overwhelmed walking into the grocery store, the health food center, or the farmer’s market. There were endless rows filled with all manner of products that I was responsible for choosing from? I didn’t know much about changing my life to be a healthier person. But I was on the journey anyway! Except, if it were up to me, I would count potato chips as a daily serving of vegetables. How could I determine what I needed to buy? Or most importantly, what would taste good and be good for me?
The first couple of times this happened, I clammed up and just defaulted to what I knew. I bought the things that were familiar to me. In my meager defense, I hadn’t lost all hope for a healthier diet, so I didn’t buy the chips and increased my purchase of fruits and vegetables. But when I got home, I really didn’t know what to do with it all. By day four, I was bored with eating apples, my bananas looked like bruised mush, and I ended up throwing away a half-eaten bag of iceberg lettuce salad mix that started to turn colors. Needless to say, I was discouraged and started to think that all the hype about eating healthy was just too much work for someone like me. So I went about my life, resolving that this “eating healthy” thing was just a trend that I was not into.
It was not long before I had a self-imposed reality check while unwrapping the “dinner” I’d just picked up from a local drive-thru. It looked soggy and gross. I felt horrible eating it. Once again, I decided to take another shot at changing my diet. This time, I skipped the grocery store and went straight to a local farmers market. They would surely have everything I needed, right? Yes, indeed. They had EVERYTHING! There was a huge selection including things I couldn’t recognize or pronounce. I certainly didn’t know how to cook it! Yet again, I was frustrated, lost, and overwhelmed. Fennel, Edamame, Bok Choy, and Hummus sounded like names out of a sci-fi movie.
Before I had a complete meltdown in the store, I remembered this time around, I had a game plan! Prior to coming into the market, I decided on three new healthy meal recipes that I wanted to make in the next week and wrote down all the ingredients. I may not have known what all the ingredients looked or tasted like, but I surely had instructions on how to cook them.
So here are my tips on how to avoid a shopping meal meltdown: