So you’ve read my Grocery Guides post and when your at Hy-vee, Dillons, Sprouts, Whole Foods or Save-A-Lot you’re getting into your rhythm and really working on creating vegetable centered meals. However, you’re a young professional/grad student/cooking for a family or just sick of spending a ridiculous amount of money on groceries, plus Aldi is the closest store to you, BUT the vegetables are in the far back corner and you have to walk through all the snacks to get there.
For all the reasons listed above, outside of cooking for a family, I do most of my shopping at Aldi. When you first enter Aldi, you have to walk though the chips, crackers, cookies, cereal, and granola bars before you get to anything else. The first thing we need to do, which we should do regardless of the store you shop at, is really think about why walking through this area first stresses you out, then work towards addressing these feelings in small steps.
If your are trying to stick to a strict grocery budget, despite it being something that is not a strength of mine, go ahead and skip that section and come back later. I know that can be a challenge if your store is super busy, so if you don’t think that’s an option then pick up what you think you’ll need and feel free to drop it off later in the store after you’ve gotten the essentials. If Aldi etiquette is something you’re very attached to, you’ll have to ask yourself what’s more important; being judge in Aldi or your budget? Overtime, you’ll know exactly what you can get for your budget, and you’ll be back to being a respectable shopper.
Maybe you just don’t know what you’re going to need until you figure out what other foods you want to bring home, if only we had infinite pantry space. My advice is to stop over thinking. Pay attention to how often you normally eat snack foods and how many times you’re wishing you had more or had to back to the store. I almost always buy crackers, the Triscuit style are my favorite, but because they don’t go bad, I would air on the over stocked side, and who really cares if you have to leave a couple of boxes out on the counter until the space opens up? If you’re having a party, you can always stash them in a closet for the night. This goes for cereal and granola bars as well. Again, it’s a process and it takes time.
A lot of people may feel out of control at the store because they don’t want to by foods they see as unhealthy. Start by asking yourself what is causing the stress and anxiety at the store, then work towards addressing these feelings in small steps. Like, if you’re worried about buying “junk” food when it’s not on your list, put it on the list! If you plan to buy it, you set yourself up for success rather than failure. Small wins like this will create larger victories and you can then work towards a place where Oreo’s may not be on the list, but they sound delicious, so you can buy them, eat them, and move on with your life, because you won’t be compelled by foods you have labeled as forbidden. If we can let go of this notion that we may be out of control with these foods, and instead focus on showing ourselves grace when we do buy them by allowing ourselves to enjoy without guilt, then you take away the power of the forbidden food.
Regardless of if you’re budgeting, worried about a lack of pantry space, or concerned about the type of food you’re bringing home. I want you to feel comfortable around food in any setting. Grocery shopping can be a situation where you may feel like you don’t have the control of the price or confidence to bring home the foods you want to enjoy and nourish your body with. The process takes time and starts with grace. Just relax, no one is grading you on your ability to grocery shop except maybe yourself! If you throw out all you’re preconceptions on how you shop and the kinds of foods you “should” eat, over time you’ll be confident and efficient in any grocery store.