General Grocery shopping Guidelines:
- Plan ahead: Choose recipes, include breakfast lunch dinner & snacks—it’s best for your metabolism to eat small portions every 3 hours (or 6 times a day)
- Make a grocery list based on the recipes; this may take some time at first, but don’t get overwhelmed! It’ll save you time and keep you on track in the long run
- Organize your list by store layout to get in-and-out faster: Produce, Meats, Dairy, Frozen, Dry foods
- Don’t forget your reusable bags!
- Don’t go hungry! You’ll want to buy unhealthy things or items that you might not even feel like eating later
- Look at expiration dates; always reach to the back of the row for the farthest out date
- The majority of your shopping cart should be fresh foods: Fruits & veggies and lean protein
Why Trader Joes? As you can already see from my previous Shrimp Stir Fry post, I prefer to shop primarily at Trader Joe’s.
- No preservatives in their products
- TJ offers many healthy options; but don’t be fooled that it’s solely catered towards health food
Chris Popp, another TJ employee, clarified, “It’s not just a health food store; we cater to a variety of people’s needs.” With this in mind, Dana said that although they have junk food like other stores, there’s “less junk” added to them because they don’t contain any unnecessary ingredients like preservatives & hydrogenated oils to their products. So, TJ is also a good place to get your treats when you allow yourself to splurge every once and a while: Dark chocolate for me!
- Healthy snack options like trail mixes & dried fruit. It’s fun to discover products I’ve never seen before
Both Dana and Chris emphasized their “wide spectrum of interesting products” and “unique items.”
- Set prices (except for their weekly deals), you don’t have to hunt around
Dana believes that they have the best prices, overall.
- Most items are Trader Joe’s brand; you don’t have to compare brands & decide which is best
Chris said that whereas other stores’ generic brand is low-quality & cheap, Trader Joe’s brand is high-quality & cheap!
- I enjoy going there; I always look forward to the daily sample!
Cassie, a TJ employee, said that it’s more colorful & fun than other stores!
- Convenient packaging
- Employees are always available to help you find something (although most things are already easy to find)
- Not to mention…Their amazing wines; no other place has deals like theirs!
- Trader Joe’s also caters to those who have dietary needs: Gluten free, kosher, vegan, vegetarian, organic, and low-sodium
When checking out at the register, Scott, another employee, informed me that if you go onto Trader Joes’s website, there is a guide for dietary needs and when you come into the store, they’ll print it out for you.
Tips after getting back from the store:
- Divide up your meats into portion sizes: the size of your fist is a good portion size for meat (about 4oz.)
- Put whatever meats your not going to use within the next week into the freezer
- Portion & divide up your snacks into baggies. Ex: 1/4 cup for nuts: this will prevent mindless snacking
Let me know where you prefer to get your grocery shopping done, and why!