Smart Grocery Shopping for a Healthier You

June 28, 2016
Amy Thompson

Good nutrition and eating well can improve your overall health, boost your energy, and help you maintain a better quality of life while living with cancer. But following a healthy eating plan requires trips to the grocery store. Shopping for groceries can take a major toll when you are exhausted from receiving treatment. Here, we break down strategies for making lists, shopping smart, and finding alternatives that will make life a little bit easier so you can focus on your well-being. share on twitter 

Making a List

A well-planned shopping list makes a trip to the store so much easier. A list can help you avoid wandering the aisles or forgetting items that forces a trip back to the store. Here are some things to consider when building your shopping list:

  • Keep your list in a convenient place so that when you use up an item, you can write it down right away. You can keep your list on the side of your refrigerator or on a bulletin board. Make sure to use a place where you will see and reach it often. Or keep your list on your smartphone or mobile device. There are several apps for this, just search “grocery list app” in your device’s online store.

  • Make a meal plan and list of snacks. Be sure to review the recipes you plan to prepare. Confirm which ingredients you already have, and add the ones you don’t have to the list.

  • Group items into categories, such as produce, dairy, canned goods, frozen foods, etc.

  • If you are familiar with your store, arrange your list so that it follows the store’s layout. If you don’t know the location of an item, mark it so that you can keep an eye out for it as you travel through the store.

Grocery Shopping

Trips to the store can be tiring. Use these strategies to make your next trip a little easier:

  • Ask a friend or family member to go with you. It could be as simple as driving you there and back. Or it may be more involved, like helping you find items and carrying bags.

  • Park close to the store and use a cart instead of a basket. Consider a motorized cart available at many stores if you’re feeling very tired.

  • Shop at less busy times, like mid-week or during the afternoon, to avoid standing in lines.

  • Shop at the same store so you can remember the layout and organize your list for that store.

  • Ask for a copy of the store directory, or seek out one of the information kiosks (if available) around the store to help you find items.

  • If you can’t find an item, ask for help from a store employee.

  • Check off items from your list as you go so you don’t forget anything.

  • At checkout, request that your bags are packed lightly. Ask for help putting them in the car.

  • And finally, take a break if you get tired. Many stores have chairs in the pharmacy or near the entrance. 

Alternatives to the grocery store

There will be days when you have no energy to shop or cook. On days like this, remember that there are alternatives:

  • Online grocery shopping. Many grocery stores now have online stores. You can create, save, and update an online shopping list and then have the store deliver your order. There is often a delivery fee.

  • Meal assembly shops. These stores allow you to buy fresh, prepared ingredients for a week’s worth of meals. Then you just heat them up at home and serve. To find a store near you, search online for “meal assembly.”

  • Prepare ahead of time. Make a number of meals on days when you feel strong enough to cook. Then freeze or refrigerate them for later use. You can heat them up throughout the week when you need them.

Listen to the Cancer.Net Podcast: Grocery Shopping Made Easier, adapted from this content.

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