Shopping with Intention


Arriving at the grocery store, you observe that the parking lot is full to capacity. The store’s sign in white and yellow lettering already gives you anxiety about stepping through the automatic doors. Before you even start shopping for tonight’s dinner, you can feel your heart starting to race and a surge of anxiousness.

Sound familiar? Having a high level of anxiety in urban settings are more common nowadays, so don’t think you are alone! This is my experience going shopping in my local grocery store more often than not. Because of these experiences, I purposefully devised an action plan for when I shop for groceries. Follow these simple tips and methods I use to survive grocery shopping.

  1. Decide Your Plate: having a goal for the lifestyle you wish to follow will assist with your grocery decisions. Perhaps you shop along the perimeter of the store. Sticking to outside of the isles also eliminates cramped situations when shopping in crowded, urban grocery stores. You’ll find items that are less prepackaged on the perimeter as well.
  2. Set Your Intention: before you even think about food, focus on what your goal is for shopping, and your health. Telling yourself “I want to purchase healthy food and not be overwhelmed” is great, but being more specific like “I want to purchase fresh and frozen prepared vegetables, as well as distract my anxiety” will promote a better chance of success. Write this down, save it on your phone, whatever it takes to visualize your goal.
  3. Make a List: this is the tide and true rule of grocery shopping, make a list! Do this after you eat, before you grocery shop, and never when you are hungry! Having a clear frame of mind blocks out those distractions. Additionally, I ask myself how much prep I am willing to do for my meal; this will help you determine what items to look for. Don’t be ashamed to purchase your cauli-rice or prechopped onion. I am a Chef by training, and even I have days when I pick up all pre-cut vegetables, fresh or frozen!
  4. Stick to the Plan: because there is a numerous amount of marketing schemes out there to have you buy organic dairy products or natural, gluten-free vegetables, stick to your grocery list plan and don’t deter! If you feel like you should purchase off your list, take note of the item in question, read the nutrition label, do your research about the product, and determine if it’s worth your money next trip. There are countless words out in the food industry meant to distract and mislead you.
  5. Refresh and Repeat: you may be getting anxious just thinking about the next item on the list, or even by reading these tips! Slow down, take a breath, a deep breath. Take two more. Remind yourself of your intention, your goals, your successes, and your positivity. Remind yourself of how these homemade meals are going to make you feel. If you need to break for five minutes, breathe away from the crowds and refresh your intentions, then repeat this. Remember, you are going to succeed.

When you live in an urban environment, an everyday task can seem like a tremendous feat to anyone. Remembering to stick to your grocery list and goals will enable you to become a grocery shopping pro in no time.


Anschutz Health and Wellness Center