AIM: What’s In My Cart

Last month, we opened a new forum, “As Us (Almost) Anything,” for you to share ideas or questions you’d like us to address in future posts. This month we chose this question: “I would be interested in seeing pics of what a regular grocery shopping trip looks like.” I really liked this question because it immediately made me more aware of what I put in my cart (“Do I need that or simply want that?”) and, knowing I’d be posting photos, held me accountable for my purchases. Sure, I could hide the “bad” stuff and not include them in the photo, but to me that’s like sneaking food and eating it in private because you feel ashamed. If I’m going to be honest with you about what I eat, then I’ll put it out there, Ak Mak crackers, Hershey Blisses, and all.

I was NOT sorry to see the screen door…or rather, the thermal insulated steel door…hit January on its way out a few days ago. While we in western Pennsylvania haven’t had it as bad as the folks in the Midwest and New England, cold is cold and snow is snow, whether it’s minus 30 or minus one, or 12 inches of snow or two. Yet…who moves in the middle of January? In the snow and sub-zero temps? Yours truly, that’s who. So I spent a good part of January not buying groceries so I wouldn’t have so much to move. This meant using up things I already had as well as eating out more often than usual. My veggie, fruit, and legume consumption plummeted, and I felt the repercussions in my joints and overall mood. Believe me, I couldn’t wait to plant my face in a big salad with black beans and tuna!

On move-in day, my refrigerator looked like this:

It was a greatly appreciated house-warming gift, but try as I might, I cannot live on wine alone.
The next day, I unpacked the food I brought from my old place and made a quick trip to the grocery store for a few fresh things like lettuce and some fruit.

A week later and feeling more settled, I was ready to plan meals for the week, something I haven’t done since before Christmas. Nothing makes me feel more nutritionally secure than a plan. I looked through my cookbooks and dug out some old favorites: Southern Coleslaw, Sante Fe Salad, and Black Bean and Rice Soup.

I went to Martin’s grocery store, a place I’ve been in a few times, but haven’t really studied because I’ve been in a hurry. But it was Sunday morning and I had nothing on my agenda except to make guacamole dip for the Super Bowl I didn’t watch.

What I like about Martin’s is that they have two aisles of organic foods and items I can usually only find at places like Whole Foods, which is no longer a few minutes from my house. I browsed these aisles, reading labels, devising meal plans in my head, and fighting the urge to buy everything RIGHT NOW! I stuck to my list and bought plain nonfat Greek yogurt, frozen fruit, and unsweetened chocolate Almond Breeze because I’m recommitting to smoothies; low-fat granola; whole-wheat English muffins for that occasional “Lynn McMuffin”; bananas that are now in a paper bag on top of my refrigerator to ripen because I want to make wheat-free banana muffins; a couple of sweet potatoes; a can of salmon because I’ve had a hankerin’ for salmon cakes; a couple boxes of veggie broth; and a few other necessities like onions and garlic.

Because of the move, I’m on a very tight budget this month, making impulse shopping an almost criminal offense. That’s OK, because I really do eat better when I’m fully aware of all my purchases and can recite how many and what types of tomatoes and beans I have in my pantry, and how much brown rice, quinoa, and lentils I have left in each bag. I’m out of wild rice right now, but that will be bought when the budget is loosened a bit. It’s much pricier here than it is in Minnesota, and I totally forgot to buy some when I was out there in November.

We’ll answer more of your questions in future posts. In the meantime, tell us about your grocery store strategies. What does your food plan look like? Do you stick to the list, or do impulse buys make their way into your cart?
AIM: Adventures in Maintenance is Lynn, Lori, Debby, Shelley, and Cammy, former weight-loss bloggers who now write about life in maintenance. We formed AIM to work together to turn up the volume on the issues facing people in weight maintenance. We publish a post on the same topic on the first Monday of each month. Let us know if there is a topic you’d like us to address!

Lori @ Finding Radiance
Debbie @ debby weighs in
Shelley @ My Journey to Fit
Cammy @ The Tippy Toe Diet

7 thoughts on “AIM: What’s In My Cart

  1. List, for sure. I buy fresh/perishables each week then try to plan around bargains. Fill in staples as need but always hope they're on sale! I try to stick to the perimeter of the store but I do have a husband who likes chips, etc. Thankfully, for the most part, his temptation foods are not mine. And yes, I always try to have a meal plan. I just find if I don't I've got a partner suggesting hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken wings and pizza every day lol!

  2. How much do I love that you eat the Parmesan from a jar, too? LOL When I'm on a pasta roll, I'll buy the shredded “real” stuff, but for the occasional use, the powdered variety does just fine. Nostalgic, too! 🙂

  3. That's a great idea, buying the chocolate almond milk for your smoothies. I'll have to try that! I'm having a hard time now, drinking smoothies in the cold weather. But I really like their convenience. Plus, if there is enough protein in them, I don't think about eating for hours afterwards.

  4. I don't have a meal plan so much as sticking to the usual suspects for meals. I only make a list if we are making something unusual or cooking a holiday dinner.

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