Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus.See all posts »
If you're a regular Diet Dish reader, you know that I absolutely love grocery stores. I love checking out new products, seeing how foods are being presented to consumers, and taking note of the latest trends. Well, the other night, Jack was out with friends, so I decided to spend the evening doing one of my very favorite things – taking a grocery “window shopping” trip. Basically, this consists of me grabbing a hot tea and strolling through the store (spiral notebook and pencil in hand) jotting down thoughts and meal ideas. I often recommend window shopping trips to my clients – going to the market during a non-peak shopping time when you aren’t in a hurry and don’t need to buy anything can be very relaxing. These days, most stores play great music, and when the aisles aren’t crowded, it’s like hanging out in a bookstore, except you’re surrounded by food instead of books (bring a sweater though – most markets are chilly).
Studies show that consumers tend to buy the same items over and over when they shop, and I can understand why. For most people, shopping is a chore, and you’re trying to “get in, get out.” That makes it hard to even notice new products let alone pick them up, read the Nutrition Facts and ingredient labels, and think about how to incorporate them into your diet. But during a window shopping trip, you can really take your time. And these non-shopping shopping trips can significantly improve the quality of your diet (mostly by adding variety which is key).
Here’s what I recommend – at the top of each note page, write a food group (i.e. grains, veggies, fruits, proteins, sauces/condiments, etc.). As you go through the aisles, list your new discoveries in the appropriate category. For example, you might stumble upon a new type of quick-cooking whole grain you’ve never tried before, or a new variety of frozen mixed veggies. When you get home, you can use the lists to create mix and match meal ideas (remember my tapenade and yellow wax beans post?).
My window shopping trips have led to lots of new favorites including new products (like my veggie chorizo) and new recipes (such as black bean chipotle taquitos - yum!). Consider giving it a try, and if you do, please send me your feedback!
Here are today’s fun facts:
-I love turtles! I think they’re adorable and they remind me to slow down sometimes
-Turtles have been on the earth for more than 200 million years
-Leatherback sea turtles (the largest) can weigh over 2,000 pounds!
-The smallest turtle is the Speckled Padloper Tortoise is just 3 inches long and weighs 5 ounces
-Turtle shells are made up of 60 different bones all connected together
-Many species of turtles are endangered including six of the seven species of marine turtles
-To see some amazing turtle photos, click here
photo courtesy of Geek Philosopher