What Life to Table Looks Like at the Grocery Store

For those of us trying to practice “mindful” living and eating, the grocery store can be an overwhelming and stressful place. From brightly-colored boxes to foods claiming to be “natural,” it’s difficult to know how to traverse the jungle of options. Before thinking about your grocery trip, think about your personal needs and limitations: Are you trying to eat only organic produce? Are you on a budget? How much time do you have? Once you understand your own needs and preferences, you can better navigate the wild world of mindful grocery shopping.

Natural and organic grocery stores offer the most ingredient and process transparency. Stores like Whole Foods and Fresh Market pride themselves on providing fresh and ethically-sourced foods on a large scale. Though often expensive, this is one of the best ways to know exactly what your money buys.

If you’re lucky enough, you may also live in an area served by a waste-reduction grocery store. Think of the bulk aisle at Whole Foods, but a whole store. Shoppers can purchase or bring their own reusable containers and stock up on the foods they need without wasting plastic, glass, and paper materials. These stores are relatively new, but if you have one in your area, go check it out.

Health food stores are often expensive, and stores aiming to reduce waste are in the early stages of development. We get it–shopping at Whole Foods can be unsustainable. If this is the case, don’t be afraid to shop at your local Market Basket, Jewel Osco, King Kullen… whatever your local supermarket is named. You can often find a surprisingly abundant organic and natural food section at a conventional grocery store. If you don’t want to go the organic or natural route, just read your labels. Shopping at a conventional grocery store can save you money– just steer clear of the brightly-colored chip aisle!

Some of us barely have time to cook—let alone actually grocery shop. If you find yourself consistently short on time but in need of a nice, relaxing dinner, consider trying a subscription meal kit service. With diet-specific options, you can have the food you need prepped and ready to go when you walk through the door.

Unfortunately, these meal boxes can be very expensive, making them an inaccessible choice for many of us. Luckily, there is a solution. An Improper Produce subscription is a great way to affordably and sustainably supplement your weekly or bi-weekly grocery shopping. The company provides produce—both vegetables and fruits, with an additional organic option—that was too “ugly” for the grocery store. The subscription reduces food waste, saves you money, and skips the unnecessary and wasteful packaging found in other subscription box options.