Your New BFF – The Farmer’s Market

First and foremost, apologies for missing Wednesday’s post.  It’s my final week and a half on maternity leave and I’ve been trying to jam in every activity, family and friend visit, and Ava time that I possibly can.

We had our first zoo trip yesterday, and except for a fabulous incident in which I became one of the exhibits while trying to feed my child, it was a successful and fun day.  I even bought Ava her first souvenir, which was way more exciting for me than it was for her, clearly:

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Anyway.  Today we are talking about the dreaded grocery shopping experience.  I say dreaded because it’s so much more difficult to make smart decisions when you’re trying to get back on a healthy track.  I’m always tempted to hit up the cookie aisle or toss a few cans of Spaghetti-o’s in my cart(admit it-they’re amazing).

But I try to follow the clean eating cardinal rule of franchise grocery store shopping:  stick to the outer perimeter of the store.  The center aisles(for the most part)are loaded with sodium, preservatives, extra fat and sugar, and so on and so forth.  If you do venture into those aisles, never forget to check the ingredients!!  And keep an eye on that sodium…even if something is labeled as healthy or low-fat, the sodium is a dead giveaway(hello bloat).

***The outer perimeter does NOT include the bakery and the fried chicken counters!***  Smart ass.

Before I hit up the grocery store, I try to come up with a few basic meals I want to cook that week and write down the ingredients I know I’ll need.  This helps me stay focused because I’m not wandering aimlessly and grabbing things just because they sound yummy.  I’m also a huge believer in the ‘don’t think it, just do it’ method.  This means getting in and getting out with no pausing to imagine how delicious those cupcakes with the triple frosting will taste.  (Poo!  They will taste like poo!)

Now, I know that running into Walmart or Jewel or whichever store is your convenient fave is the easier choice, but my absolute favorite way to shop is by supporting local farmers.  Lots of towns set up a weekend produce market, which is great, but not always easy to take advantage of during the limited times.  So I seek out those that have a storefront, and since they’re becoming more popular, it’s much easier to do!

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My favorite(small)produce market is Peter Rubi in Plainfield, Illinois(my loaded cart, shown above).  If you’re from the area, check them out.  Family owned and the nicest people you’ll ever meet, they have amazing deals and a huge variety of fruits, veggies, nuts, juices, and so much more!  Right next door to them is Tischler’s Market, a butcher who sells a wide variety of fresh meats.  The best part?  There is absolutely no center aisle temptation!

I’ve heard great things about Fresh Thyme Market, which is popping up all over the Midwest.  I haven’t made it there yet, but I plan to do so very soon.  If you’ve been, fill me in on the exciting details!

Let’s list the things you must always keep in mind when filling your refrigerator:

  • Stick to the outer perimeter of the grocery store for the freshest and cleanest foods
  • Make a list of the ingredients you need
  • Don’t think about the junk food you’re ‘missing out on’
  • Purchase a variety of fruits and veggies(I like to buy one or two things I’ve never tried to change up my diet)
  • The greener the leaf, the better for you!
  • Always try to support your local farmers; chances are, you’ll get better quality food and save a lot of money

How do you make grocery shopping foolproof?

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