A successful food shop can set you up for a great week ahead. If done well, not only will you save money, you will also start to consistently create healthy meals across the week.

Firstly, it’s important to consider what your nutrition goals are. Are you hoping to eat predominantly plant based, high protein, or well rounded across all macro and micronutrients? Once you have your nutrition goals sorted, its time to start planning!

Planning and preparation before a food shop will help you choose exactly what you need (not what you grab for the sake of it because it’s on special). This planning stage doesn’t need to be an exact list, just a general idea of what you are hoping to find at the shops and in what quantity. Review what you already have at home, and what more you need from the shops to hit your nutritional goals. The most important thing here is that you are consciously thinking about what you need to achieve your goals.

From here you need to decide where you shop. For convenience, do you head to a chain store close to home, or do you prefer to find a fresh produce market or local butcher? Depending on your values and preferences, a fresh food market may be best for many reasons. Markets are generally more affordable; they support local farmers and focus on reducing waste. Produce from a market is often organic which may also be a priority for some. On the flip side, a large chain store allows consumers to buy all produce, protein, dairy and household needs in one place. On the flip side, produce may be more expensive with more plastic and less focus on the environment. Make it a priority to find a place close to home that aligns with your values and needs.

Lastly, its time to shop! Ideally, let’s start with fresh fruit, vegetables and protein sources, this is your priority. From a health perspective, these food groups should take up most of our plate for each meal. Try to buy a nice range of colours and proteins to consume as many different vitamins and minerals with each meal. Next, head down each isle and only choose what is on your list. Try to stick to this list as best you can by adding your carbohydrate, fats, dairy and additional sources to the trolley. Try to avoid buying food just because it is on sale or marketed to be healthy or conducive to weight loss or whatever your goal may be. With each item consider ‘do I need this’? or will it be thrown out at the end of the week?

For bonus points, consider some easy ways to prepare your purchases to make cooking that little bit easier. Could you chop up your veggies or separate your proteins for each meal? Some people love meal prep as it saves time; others enjoy cooking and take time each day to prepare a meal. Whatever works for you is fine. It?s all about finding what works for you.

To summarise, consider this step-by-step guide to a successful food shop:

  1. What are your goals?

  2. Complete a list of foods you need to reach your goals.

  3. Where do you wish to shop? Does this shop align with your values and needs?

  4. Get shopping! Prioritise fruit, vegetables and protein.

  5. Bonus points -meal prep!

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