Still talking about quality over quantity, I wanted to start today’s blog talking about choosing a grocery store. I know many of us do not put much thought into this, as we just look at the sales ad and shop at whatever place has the best sale. That is a great strategy to use, as long as what you are buying falls in line with quality, instead of quantity. For sake of clarity, we will narrow this down to shopping for real whole foods…meats, dairy, fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, oils, etc., foods that will support and sustain a healthy and nutritionally wholesome lifestyle.
You want to make sure you find you a GOOD grocery store, farmer’s market, etc. that supports your whole food way of life, meaning that they offer QUALITY real whole foods and keep them stocked regularly. All grocery stores are not created equal, some offer a better grade of produce and meats. For instance, “Choice” meats are of much better grade and quality than “Select” (so please read your meat labels). “Grade AA” butter is of much better quality than grade A. “Organic” milk is much healthier, and of much better quality than regular grade milk…and the list goes on. Now is a good time to google “best quality” in different foods so you will know how to differentiate at the store. Don’t just buy what looks good on surface, but get to know the quality of the product you are purchasing by reading labels. I cannot stress this enough. Be an educated shopper and READ THE LABELS! The real information is in the fine print, not on the front label you see (that is strictly for advertisement!).
Now…..my favorites . . .
Some of my favorite local grocers are Whole Foods, Earth Fare, Costco, Publix, and Kroger…in that order. Each store offers me a different choice in quality products, so I break down my grocery list and shop at the best store, for the best items, for the best price. Sometimes you cannot buy everything at one place, at one time. For me, I buy meats one day – fresh produce the next – then all my pantry items in a separate shopping trip. I get to know my grocery store/farmer’s market guy and find out what day they get their fresh shipments in, and I go on those days to shop to ensure I am getting the freshest possible. And if it is not out yet, please do not be afraid to ask them to pull you a fresh box of whatever you are looking for – sometimes they are happy to do so (and if they are not, still smile and insist…Lol!) We will talk tomorrow about getting acquainted and partnering with your grocery store.
Now I will share a rundown of how I shop. . .
My top choice for quality meats is Whole Foods/Earth Fare. Why? Because they offer a good variety of meats that are antibiotic and hormone free – which is important to me. I, for one, can taste the difference! Yes it is more expensive, but there are ways to cut cost in meats (which we will talk about in a later post). My next choice is …drum roll please…Costco! They have excellent variety, well stocked, cheap prices, and good overall quality of choice meats. I will NEVER buy Wal-Mart or Kroger meat period! A lot of times they inject their meats with a solution and offer a lower grade of meat. Invest wisely in your meats, please. I reserve these stores only for buying good quality pantry items as they are usually cheaper for that.
My top choice for produce and fruit is again, Whole Foods/Earth Fare. Why? Because they offer a great variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, and carry a fuller line of organics. Publix runs tightly behind as a top choice for produce as well (I have never bought a bad produce item from Publix). If I am buying in bulk, my top choice for fruits and vegetables is…Costco! They have beautiful organic salad greens, spinach, carrots, etc. at excellent prices. A 10 pound bag of organic carrots for $6? Yep! I usually start with them and buy all my bulk items, and then fill in the gaps at my other stores. I LOVE Costco so much, I am going to dedicate a whole blog post to them soon 🙂
My top choice for pantry items is Costco, Publix, and Kroger. Costco has spices and oils pretty cheap, along with bulk canned tomatoe products and frozen vegetables, so again I start here first. Publix offers good buy-one-get-one free sales on mayonnaise, mustards, bottled goods, juices, etc. so I always scour their ads for those.
Well, that’s enough for today. We will share much more in future posts. Tomorrow, we will talk about building a relationship with your grocery store, farmer’s market, and/or food co-op. Pace yourself, we got 27 more days to go 🙂