March Mindfulness: Bump Up Your Buggy, Transform Your Trolley, Convert Your Cart

What can I say?  I like alliteration.  (And idioms.

Today is DAY ONE of MARCH MINFULNESS.  Get ready.

Today's objective: Be mindful of what you put in your shopping cart.  It may just become what you purchase, take home to your family, and put into your body.

Grocery shopping can be stressful, time-consuming, and/or downright unpleasant.  (If you don't have a list, it can be even worse.)  Designed to maximize your time in the store, thereby increasing your likelihood to spend, grocery stores are not particularly well-organized for getting in and out quickly.  Here are a few things that have helped me to move from absolutely loathing grocery trips to smiling while shopping, beginning to end, within 45 minutes.

1. Take the time to make a list. 
Be mindful of what you need, perhaps even "taking requests" prior to shopping.  Look through the cabinets, fridge, and pantry for any needed staples.  A list is also a good spot to jot any ingredients that you don't normally purchase, especially if you are trying a new recipe during the week.  We have a magnetic-backed pad on the fridge (with a pen attached, because Danny is the ultimate customizer) to easily make note of anything we need during the next shopping trip.  No transferring lists or going without one!  We just rip it off and go!  At the very least a list can prevent you from being stuck on the phone in the aisle, inquiring what the family wants.  (This also saves the customers around you from being subject to your pass the phone around the house conversation.)

2. Focus your attention on the fresh and frozen foods located on the (outer) perimeter of the store.
These will be your healthiest and least processed items.  As you begin to change what you buy to healthier options, you will notice a natural shift to the out edges of the store.  This week, try to ditch one packaged item and trade it for one fresh vegetable or fruit.  Being mindful of the processing of foods vs. food-like products will enable your body to heal and you mind to develop clarity.  Even frozen fruits and vegetables are good choices.  If you're nervous about trying a new fruit or vegetable, and whether it will go bad before you finish it, frozen is a smart and economical choice.

3. If you've gotta snack, snack smart(ly).
I hate to say it, but you do not need potato chips.  And, Buffalonians, as delicious as it is, you do not need chip dip.  These contain basically no justifiable calories.  The purpose of food is to fuel our bodies.  Who wants to put empty potato chip calories into their engine?  Select snacks that are satisfying and tasty, but aren't terrible for you.  Or at least begin to limit the amount of unhealthy ones you purchase.  Since going gluten-free, we've discovered granola (store-bought or homemade) and trail mix (homemade).  These are crunchy, filling, and delicious.  Plus, you can include a variety of add-ins to spice up your life and keep the monotony at bay.  Also, sorry if you don't want to hear it again, but apples, carrots, and celery have become easy and quick snacks in our household, too.

4. Limit beverage purchases.
Water is my favorite drink.  It is refreshing, satisfying, and "free."  You can pile it with ice for a change or add lemon or fresh mint to give it some zing.  At the grocery store, milk, almond/ rice/ coconut milk, and real juices are some of the smartest beverage purchases you can make for your home and budget.  Like potato chips, many beverages (soda pop--regular, but especially diet; energy drinks; and partial juices) are unhealthy and mainly filler.  They don't make you smarter, cuter, funner (I apologize, but really, they don't!), or more mindful.  In fact, some may argue they do the opposite.

5. Read the ingredients of all of the items you purchase.
I know there are those out there that say things like, "just don't tell me--I don't want to know" about the ingredients and production practices of their food.  I understand your frustration.  Knowing definitely complicates an already stressful, time-consuming, and unpleasant activity.  With an effort to be mindful, however, it is not wise to simply IGNORE facts about how your food products have been made, what they consist of, and/or where they were "born."  This does not mean you should begin feeling stressed to go out of your way to research each item, company, and ingredient (maybe at some point), instead make an effort to set personal standards for what you choose to ingest.  If you can't pronounce it, you've read it might be bad for you, or you see more than 10-15 ingredients total on the product, you probably should reconsider your purchase.  Also, once you've read the ingredients and given them the ok, you don't have to reread each time.

These are just a few ways to begin to incorporate mindfulness into your weekly grocery shopping trip and subsequent week.  Good luck and get ready for March Mindfulness!

The following picture is my cart from last night's shopping trip to my local (conventional) grocery store.  (It doesn't look like tons, but this is about one week for our household of two.  And, because I've discovered the short carts make me a less murderous shopper, it's piled with unseen layers.)

What are some tricks you've found to help convert your cart?  Share below or on Facebook!

Labels: , ,