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Save Money AND Get Healthy By Shopping the Perimeter!

Updated on June 19, 2013
She LOVES shopping!
She LOVES shopping! | Source
Some of the veggies my kids WOULDN'T EAT before we started cooking from scratch and trying new things!
Some of the veggies my kids WOULDN'T EAT before we started cooking from scratch and trying new things!
The homemade version....made with only things i can spell and pronounce!
The homemade version....made with only things i can spell and pronounce!

Buy Fresh and Feel Better

Did you make a New Years Resolution this year? Perhaps you vowed to Get Healthy,To Lose Weight, or to Save Money. Studies show that only 8% of those who make resolutions are successful. There is one way to do do all three in one easy step. Try Perimeter Shopping at the Grocery!

You may never have noticed but you will certainly see it next time you walk around your grocery store.....The GREAT stuff is around the outside perimeter of the store. As you read this, picture your favorite grocery store as a square. I would bet that in 95% of the cases, you have the produce section, meat, seafood, and dairy sections around the outside of the square. Now...think of the inside of your visual square...that's where they get you. The inside of your square is filled (just like a donut) with fat laden, rich, and tempting goodness. Their alias...convenience foods.

There are many books, diets, and fitness outlets who promote perimeter shopping. Avoiding those tempting inner aisles will not only steer you in a cheaper direction but also one filled with fresh-healthier meal options!


Here is the ingredient list for a popular brand of flour tortillas: Cost for 10- $2.89

Enriched Bleached Wheat Flour (Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Rioboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, Vegetable Shortening (interesterfied Soybean Oil, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil with Monoglycerides), Glycerine, Corn Syrup Solids, Contains 2% or less of: Salt, Baking Powder (Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Aluminum Sulfate, Corn Starch, Calcium Sulfate, Monocalcium Phosphate), Potassium Fumaric Acid, Sorbate, Calcium Propionate, Monoglycerides, Dough Conditioner (Sodium Metabisulfite).

Do you even know what dough conditioner is????

My favorite tortilla recipe: Cost for 10-under $1

flour, salt, water, baking powder, oil

If you plan to try this shopping method on your next grocery had better know going in that it WILL involve you cooking from scratch! This means that you are in charge for once of what is going into your body.

Tips for Perimeter Shopping:

  1. Make a list before you go of meals that you love and that you would like to try making!
  2. Plan a week's worth of menus. Try to plan for items that can be used more than once....For instance- make homemade tomato soup--the next day, make the leftovers a sauce for a whole wheat pizza or for fresh Italian vegetables or to serve over grilled chicken. You will use the same ingredients so there will be no need to overbuy!
  3. Cook smart! Who has time to cook from scratch every night after work? Place a roast in the crockpot on day 1....Day 2- add some spices and use the roast in whole wheat tortillas! If your roast is big enough to make it to Day 3- add veggies and beef stock and you have vegetable soup!
  4. Make A LIST!!! Know what you are buying BEFORE you visit the grocery.
  5. Stock up on handy snack replacements for craving time. Sweet and Salty! Choose strawberries and salted nuts....or whatever you like!
  6. Don't stray from the plan!! Avoid the freezers and confections aisle unless you really need to go down it.
  7. Careful in the Dairy Section!Try to choose hard cheeses, organic items, and yogurts. Boost your protein intake by choosing greek yogurts! They contain double the protein of regular yogurt!

NOTE: Many grocery stores have caught on to this and placed a trap for you! The Bakery section is now conveniently located on the outside and usually near to the checkout! Impulse shopping at its best. Buy smart when hitting this section. They offer fresh baked whole wheat bread, rolls, and bagels too....not just donuts and cakes!

Not only will avoiding cardboard boxes save you money, but it will also force you to eat healthier. Brightly colored fruits and vegetables are known to be full of vitamins and minerals and each add benefits to your health. SOME of these nutrients are lost during the packaging when they are used in ready-made foods. They also contain powerful antioxidants, which play a hand in free radical absorption. Free radicals are damaging compounds that raise the risk for chronic diseases.

Benefits of Perimeter Shopping!

  • GET HEALTHY! Since you are now cooking from scratch, you will be more aware of what you are adding to your meals (remember the tortillas)!
  • GET INVOLVED! Getting the family involved. Making menus together and preparing the items is so much better than --open bag, boil, and serve!
  • SAVE MONEY! Think about a can buy one in the freezer case for $4-$5. Make it yourself and you will make a much better pizza for about $2. Yes...its only $2 but think about it as $2 per item! A bag of fries is about $2.50...peeling a WHOLE BAG potatoes and baking your own fries less than $1! It adds up
  • FEEL BETTER! The rule is certainly true. You eat with your eyes. You will automatically be attracted to the brightly colored fruits and vegetables instead of the picture on the box of oozing cheese! This means better food goes into your body!

Is my family perfect? No way. I have 5 young kids so of course I have some convenience items. I also will note that since I have been shopping the perimeter, they are eating better and they love getting involved and making foods from scratch. They also prefer homemade pizzas to the boxed ones now! Its a game to see a restaurant item advertised on tv or a billboard and figure out how to make it ourselves!

Next time you visit your grocery try to live on the "edge"....It will save you money, save you time, and get you on the track to healthier eating!


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    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 5 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      It's amazing how most of us grocery shoppers have not seen this subliminal arrangement before, but you're absolutely right about how the middle sections are full of processed foods saturated with sugar, starches, and all the other things that are detrimental to good health. Thanks for sharing this simple yet effective strategy for shopping.

    • Mommymay profile image

      Heather May 5 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks kennedysweets! Its amazing the difference in how I feel since i have been doing it. I ave been vegetarian for the past 5 years so I assumed that I WAS eating health(ier)..I mean cookies are vegetarian:) but I know now that I wasn'!. Glad to see someone else shops this way!

    • kennedysweets profile image

      kennedysweets 5 years ago from Midwest

      Great article and sound advice. I actually only go to the produce section, organic, and bulk sections anymore.