How I Conquered Grocery Shopping Struggles

The concept of being independent and going to shop and cook for yourself seems satisfying and exciting. But in all honesty, grocery shopping can be stressful, daunting and at times even annoying. Personally, I struggle with when to go grocery shopping. I debate whether or not I should try new ingredients and buy new things. I get tempted into buying unhealthy foods and snacks. My food palette is extremely basic and I always want to expand it, but the second I step into a grocery store, I revert back to my old habits and end up getting pints of ice cream, cookies and salty snacks. The struggle of buying items at a reasonable cost and the temptation to be unhealthy is the biggest challenge to overcome. Also, when I have an extremely busy week, the last thing I want to do is go get stuff to eat and then cook. Recently, I have been trying to change my mindset about the necessary habit of grocery shopping. 

When it comes to grocery shopping, I have promised myself several things. Firstly, I always make a list prior to going shopping. This does not mean making a list a few hours or days before I plan to stop by a grocery store, but just adding to a list whenever I realize I want something. I also look at easy recipes on Google whenever I have time and try to manipulate the recipe to fit my own preferences. Sometimes, if I want to try out a new type of meal, I will set aside a day to do a trial run. On that day, I just make an attempt to cook the meal. By doing this, I do not waste time and food on a day that I am very busy. I am also trying to learn to become more comfortable with the concept of grocery shopping and cooking. Going to school, showering, socializing and working out have all become routine for me- so why can’t the basic act of grocery shopping just be another thing on the schedule? 

Making a list before doing my shopping has become really important for me. I include the basic necessities such as fruits, vegetables, milk, eggs, my usual breakfast, coffee, cheese and bread, etc. I also tend to get frozen food when I know I have a heavy week and when cooking for more than 30 minutes is not ideal for my schedule. I usually have to pack lunch and dinner on the long days when I do not go back to my apartment, so I will pack snacks like pretzels, apples, carrots, crackers, popcorn and almonds long with a sandwich or pasta that I heat up. I also love to make chicken and rice because it is so simple. Unfortunately, I feel like all the quick meals have become so repetitive that I get bored and my meals just lack flavor. I try to be more diverse by adding different vegetables in my pasta, making unique salads and trying new sauces on my chicken.

I also think it is a good idea to plan meals ahead to the best of your ability. Weeks can get super busy as a college student, but you still have to prioritize your health. If you plan ahead what meals you want to cook and when, you will save a lot of time when you go grocery shopping, and then you will have something yummy to look forward to.

Overall, grocery shopping can be very daunting, but if you get comfortable enough to make it a routine in your schedule, then it will not be such an anxiety-filled trip. Getting the right groceries and having a proper meal is extremely important and it is something you are going to do for the rest of your life, so you might as well start getting used to it now!