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D21 My Grocery Store Essentials & The Things I CANNOT Bring Home

Confession: I love grocery shopping!! I used to hate it. I hated the crowds, I hated the lines, I hated feeling totally overwhelmed by all the varieties and not knowing what to get and I used to leave with a bunch of crap I didn't need and nothing that I did need! I'd be frustrated and pissed off for the entire week thinking "how am I supposed to eat well if I have nothing to eat and if I just went grocery shopping how is it even possible I have nothing to eat!?" It took some time to get into the habit of making a list but once I started making a list and checking off what I needed as I went I was able to be a lot more proficient and I spent money where I needed to and therefore I spent a lot less of it! I wasn't coming home with 10 jars of cinnamon and a jar of pickles unless I NEEDED 10 jars of cinnamon and a jar of pickles.

Now that I've been making lists and shopping on a mission I've been able to cut down on wasted money and time and I have come up with a list of "must haves" that I buy pretty much every time we go, unless I have enough in my fridge or cabinets which I'm going to share with you now so that maybe it'll help you! I put a star next to Power Foods

Produce: 

  • cucumbers*
  • peppers-red, yellow, orange, green*
  • red or white potatoes*
  • sweet potatoes (I've been LOVING potato-o's which come shrink wrapped so all you have to do is microwave them for 5-7 minutes! They also have white potato-o's. I found them in the produce section with the potatoes)*
  • apples*
  • grape or cherry tomatoes*
  • celery*
  • seasonal fresh fruit*
  • spinach*
  • portabello mushrooms*
Deli & Dairy:
  • low sodium 99% fat free turkey breast from the deli (I like Prima Della which I found at Walmart)* (only a Power Food if it's low sodium and fat free)
  • turkey pepperoni
  • low sodium American cheese
  • butterball everyday turkey kielbasa
  • butterball everyday turkey bacon
  • eggs*
  • carton of egg whites*
  • Laughing Cow light cheese wedges
  • fat free shredded cheese (mozzarella, cheddar)* (only a Power Food if it's fat free!)
  • spray butter
I used to love yogurt, my favorite was plain fat free greek yogurt with fresh fruit mixed in but I found that yogurt was bothering my stomach and had to stop eating it :( I'm not completely dairy free (hence the cheese) but I can't eat yogurt without a sour stomach :( 



Canned goods:
  • fat free refried beans*
  • unsweetened applesauce*
  • 100% pumpkin puree (NOT PUMPKIN PIE FILLING!)*
  • Progresso light soup (chicken and dumpling, creamy chicken and dumpling, potato and bacon chicken and corn chowder, chicken noodle, chicken with rotini are among my favorites)
  • baked beans
  • green beans*
  • canned fruit like pineapples in their own fruit juice* (only Power Foods if they're in their own juice!)
  • PB2 (chocolate and plain peanut butter)
  • peanut butter
In my cabinets:

  • old fashioned oats*
  • 100 calorie popcorn (I prefer kettle corn but they have butter)*
  • light bread (I prefer light oatmeal)*
  • light English muffins*
  • bagel thins
  • canola or olive oil
  • tuna packed in water*
  • cinnamon
  • seasoned salt
  • garlic salt
  • stevia 
Having spices on hand to cook with makes food really flavorful without packing on extra points. 

Freezer section:
  • frozen broccoli* 
  • frozen green peppers-chopped*
  • frozen white onions-chopped*
  • frozen strawberries*
  • frozen blueberries*
  • frozen butternut squash*
  • frozen corn*
  • frozen mixed veggies*
  • Boca original vegan veggie burger* (only a power food if you get the original vegan veggie burger, 2 points! The All American Flame Broiled veggie burger is 3 points and NOT a Power Food)
  • Boca original chick'n patties
  • salmon filets (only a Power Food if it's wild caught!)
  • Weight Watchers chicken tenders*

Always having these things available in my house (even if I don't plan on using them within that week) helps me so much because if things change last minute I need a quick easy alternative! This week there were a couple of nights where we changed the dinner menu last minute and had I not had some of these items in my house I would've been in trouble. When I find myself dinnerless or plans change last minute this often leads to overeating and/or overspending my points. When I'm hungry and have no options I don't think quick well. There's a Subway across the street from my house and nothing good happens at Subway. I mean it CAN but most often I find myself giving into temptation when I'm there. I know I could order a chopped salad but most likely I'm going to end up ordering a sub. When I have my essentials on hand I can quickly heat up a can of soup and make myself a sandwich or salad or scramble up some eggs and a turkey sausage patty. Maybe it's not ideal but it's a lot better than fast food :)


And here is a list of the foods I DON'T buy because I've learned the hard way I cannot have these items in my house without being tempted to binge on them. Some of these items are "healthy" and some people can enjoy them in moderation but I can't!
  • any kind of ice cream treat
  • candy 
  • bagels
  • cereal (even "healthy cereal" like Grapenuts...ya, seriously...)
  • white bread
  • crackers
  • cookies
  • sugar free jello (for some reason these make me hungrier!!! Eating one of these always leads to eating EVERYTHING that isn't tied down!)
  • pudding cups
  • whipped cream 
  • soda (even diet)
  • fruit juice
  • chips
  • pretzels
  • pastries
  • snack cakes (anything like Little Debbie)
  • "healthy" snack cakes (fiber one cakes or snacks)
  • granola bars 

If I want something on my "must not have" list I will figure out a way to fit it into my week. I love Nature Valley crunchy granola bars for example but if I have a box in my house I might eat 2 or more packages in a day so I buy one package at a time at a gas station or convenience store if I really want one. Dunkin Donuts has bagels and I rarely want a bagel but if I do I'll get ONE there, track the points and move on! Some of those items I just don't want anymore...I can live without cereal and cookies and white bread so I don't care about not having those but if for some reason I'm really craving them I can also get those in single serving size. One thing I'll never, ever give up is ICE CREAM!! I love ice cream and a life without ice cream is no life at all but I've found that ice cream tastes a million times better when someone else scoops it for you ;-)

So there's my list! I hope it helps and/or inspires you the next time you hit the grocery store. I know firsthand how overwhelming it can be but I promise with a little practice you'll be a grocery shopping pro like me. 

-t

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