Tuesday, March 17, 2015

#16: Shopping the Perimeter

Is it possible to make a post about grocery shopping fun or interesting?  I'm not so sure... but, I'll give it a try anyway.

About a year ago, I began to make a conscious effort to avoid the center aisles of the grocery store...also known as "shopping the perimeter."  If this is a foreign concept, the idea is that all the processed foods are located in the middle of the store, whereas fresh produce, meat, and dairy products are located around the edges.  By avoiding the inside aisles, we are purchasing whole foods instead of processed junk.

In order to hold myself accountable, I added this goal (#16) to my 20 in 14 list and tried to make a habit of staying out the center aisles.  Now, we all know life happens and this isn't entirely practical for 100% of all grocery store purchases or visits.  However, I have photographic evidence of at least a few successful trips to the store.

My only complaint about this whole thing is the outrageous cost of whole fruits, vegetables, meat, and dairy products.  A boxed dinner may cost $3, whereas making the real deal from scratch could be four times as expensive.  I realize we spend a much smaller portion of our income on food than other world nations do, but it's flat out stupid that real food costs more than processed food does.

I distinctly remember taking this photo because four items cost $20!
Sometimes I also found the produce at grocery stores to be less than ideal.  The selections weren't always at their optimal stage of freshness, and they were always so gosh darn expensive.  In an attempt to cash in on fresher produce at lower costs, we recently became members of Sam's Club.  The local store also happens to be located just about as close to our house as other grocery stores, and it's always a safer place to be than the run down areas of this town.

I really like shopping at Sam's - there isn't as much variety in their produce section, but what they do have is always fresh and longer lasting than what I typically purchased at other stores.  Not everything at warehouse stores is cheaper than other stores, but if you know what you typically pay elsewhere, it's not difficult to make a judgement about whether something is a good buy.  

Using whole ingredients has inspired me to make other things from scratch too - a few weeks ago, I made homemade peanut butter cookies for the pressbox using only three ingredients (eggs, sugar, peanut butter) instead of baking something from a box.  This week, I even managed to make banana bread with some overripe bananas we had laying around.  Also, my mother-in-law bought me a solid 12-in-1 blender for my birthday, so I am itching to crank that baby up and concoct something awesome!

With all that said, the results of these efforts have been increases in consumption of fruits and vegetables in our day-to-day diets.  We haven't experienced weight loss, persay, but I have to believe we are having more nutritious meals on a more regular schedule.  At this point, however, I am starting to become bored with our same-ole menus, so if anyone has some simple/easy recipes (using fresh ingredients) to to offer, please share away!



Amy Salisbury said...

I totally do this too!! And the expensive produce is killing me... I make a big exception for the frozen veggies (and fruit) aisle.

Rosie said...

I really wish the government would subsidize ACTUAL produce instead of just corn and wheat - that's why the boxed stuff is so much cheaper! And full of additives to make it even less expensive for them to make... It's definitely more expensive to shop the perimeter, but gets easier every time :)