Monday, May 30, 2011

Supermarket Challange!

I have been looking into ways for my family and me to eat healthier....but how?  In our world of fast food on every corner, high fructose in everything, carbs are evil culture…how does a mom know where to start?

 I started to think about my local grocery store, Giant.  Where in the store is the healthy food?  What part of the store should I avoid?  It occurred to me, for the most part, that the healthiest foods are around the perimeter of the store.   Fruits and veggies in the produce depart on one side wall, meat and milk on the back wall, eggs, other dairy products (proteins) and whole grain breads along the other side wall.  Eating healthy would be easy if only I made good choices while shopping only the perimeter of the store.  So, I decided to challenge myself!  I would go grocery shopping for the family and try to buy at least 75% off our food from the perimeter of the store.  Wish me luck!

Pushing my cart through the doors of the store, with my daughter Andrea in the seat, I was ready!  First, we start at the produce department.  I pick up carrots and cucumbers to snack on. We then head toward green beans and broccoli for dinner sides.  We finish up in produce by getting some apples.  Next, I pick up a rotisserie chicken and half a pound of turkey at the deli.  Now it’s time to enter the forbidden zone, the center aisles.  My husband favorite dinner is Spaghetti with meat sauce, so we head down the pasta aisle for a box of whole wheat pasta and some spaghetti sauce.  I also make a stop in the cereal aisle for a box of oatmeal. 

Now it’s time to hit the meat section.  I start out by picking up some lean ground beef for Mike’s spaghetti.  I also choose some chicken breast and pork chops.  Andrea and I keep moving across the back of the store to the milk section, where we get some skim milk.  We turn the corner to the other side wall of the store and pick up some Chobani Greek Yogurt (my favorite!!!) and some fat free regular yogurt.  We continue toward the front of the store to the bread section and grad some Weight Watchers Whole Grain bread to go with the deli turkey for lunch.  Now it’s time to round out the shopping list and head into the forbidden zone one last time.  This time, on the agenda is apple juice for the kids and almonds for my snack. 

I look over my list one last time.  I have enough here for three healthy dinners for my family, plus breakfast and lunch for me while Mike is at work and Nathan is at school.  The big question is:  did I meet my goal?  Did I get 75% of my grocery purchase from the perimeter of the store?  Here is a list of what I got:

From the Store Perimeter
From the Forbidden Center Aisles

Whole wheat pasta noodles
Spaghetti sauce
Fresh Green Beans
Juicy Juice
Deli Turkey

Chicken Breast

Lean Ground Beef

Rotisserie Chicken

Pork Chops

Skim Milk

Chobani Greek Yogurt

Fat free yogurt

Weight Watchers Whole Grain Bread

So, how did I do?  I got a total of 19 items, five that did not come from the perimeter.  That means only 74% of my purchase came from the perimeter.  I did not meet my challenge, but I think I did a pretty great job!
Now, I challenge you!!!  Try to get a majority of your food from the perimeter of your grocery store.  How did you do?  Tell me what you found easiest and most difficult about shopping this way?  Do you have any tips or advise for others about healthy grocery shopping?  I would love to hear from you!


  1. Great job! You could have gotten some salad greens or leaf spinach for Mike to eat along with his spaghetti. He could have those with Balsamic vinegar not salad dressing.

    I would not do that well at this challenge.

  2. Great Job! Hey every little bit helps... caught your link from the Disney Princess Half Marathon Group on Fb - see you there!
    You can follow me if you want!

  3. I saw your link from your signature on DIS...I like your post about trying to stay on the perimeter of the store...that would be pretty hard for me and I think I buy fairly healthy stuff! I had a suggestion for you though...have you ever tried using ground turkey in your spaghetti rather than beef? I switched a couple of years ago to be healthier and I honestly now prefer it over ground beef in spaghetti whether I am being health-conscious or tastes delicious. I season it with a few spices, mostly sage, which is great with turkey, and the rest just comes from the jarred sauce. Good luck on your fitness quest to the Princess run...I ran it this year as my first and had such a blast...and now I'm hooked and registered for 3 more Disney halfs. :)

  4. Thanks for the advice. I will have to try that! What other Disney halves are you doing??? I am thinking about doing the DL Tink is January 2013

  5. I found your link on the DISboards since I'm also training for Princess 2012.

    Have you thought about fish? Salmon is filled with vitamins and minerals that are great for you and the Food Network has a lot of recipes for salmon. It's also very filling so the portions can be small.

  6. I have to admit, I really never have tried least not good fish. I have tried tuna and do not really care for it. Thanks for the tip! Next time I go grocery shopping I will check out the seafood counter and try some salmon! Is there any reciept you recommend?

  7. for me the hardest part comes down to juice and cereal. neither of which we need, but often staples in our house. our perimeter staples include bananas, apples, skim milk, broccoli and frozen sugar snap peas.

  8. The easiest salmon recipe I use is from Giada De Laurentiis. I've included the link to the FN page. It's really easy and sometimes I just bake the salmon the way the recipe says and throw other stuff together with it. But this recipe has salmon, almonds, tomatoes, pesto and puff pastry.

  9. In response to Amy's comment at 6:28p...I'm also registered for the DL half in September, Wine & Dine Half in October at WDW and the inagural Tinkerbell Half at DL in January. I'm tired just typing that!

  10. Are you closer to DL than WDW? I LOVE California and DL! Your dedication to all of these races is very admiriable! Please keep me posted on your training! Is your goal to complete the races or do you have a specific time in mind?

  11. I live in TX so I'm a little closer to WDW, but pretty much in the middle of the two...the flight to DL is a little longer and a bit more expensive though :) My goal for the Princess was to complete it, feeling good and with a smile on my face. I finished in 2:32:09, which was better than I had predicted so I was ecstatic about that...and I finished feeling great!! For DL, my training goal is to push a little harder, maybe run a tad faster or spread my walk breaks out some...right now I run 1 mile/walk 100 steps, repeat. I might try run 2 miles/walk 100 steps this time around. I know I can run 3 miles with no breaks, I just don't know if I can do that pattern for 13 miles yet. It's hard to focus on time right now because my training for the DL race will be 100% in the summer time...and it's SUPER hot and humid here already, so that really takes a toll on my pace. For the Wine & Dine I'm definitely going to just have fun. My BF runs as well, much faster than me and with no walking, and we decided we would run this one together, stop for as many pictures along the way as possible and just have fun. Plus, it's only a month after DL, so it would be hard for us to go all out for both races. Then for Tinkerbell, I think I will try to focus more on shaving some time off my pace...I'll have a full 4 months of training time and it will be during the fall and winter so the weather will be on my side :) Oh, by the way, I'm "Cripey" on the DIS if you were wondering or ever wanted to PM me about anything.

  12. "Cripey",

    2:32 is a great time for your first half! I would be THRILLED with that time. Finances and work only allow two trips a year, usually one to DL and one to WDW. We are going to WDW in October during Food and Wine, and then again for the Princess Half! Good luck with all your races and training!

  13. Ok, trying this again as my last comment did not post. I started my official trainng following the Jeff Galloway Half Marathon chart today. Whoo Hoo!

  14. New to blogging and I seem to only be able to Post as "anonymous" I am Cheryl and will be doing the Princess Half this year.