Groceries.  This is a topic I have been thinking a lot about. Who in the household does the shopping? Where do you purchase your groceries? Why do you shop where you do? What are you purchasing?

Who does the shopping in your family?  This was my responsibility when our children were young.  I did the meal planning, the shopping, and the majority of the cooking.  Now my husband plans and shops and cooks, I do the dishes. My point is it doesn’t matter who does the grocery shopping, but someone must assume this responsibility to enjoy healthy meals. I am grateful he is capable and willing.

We have a lot of choices in our society, and where to purchase our food is one of those choices with many options.  There are traditional chain grocery stores, local markets, ethnic markets, natural food markets.  There are big box stores with a grocery department, and warehouse stores where most items are packaged as a six month supply.  Seasonally many communities have farmers markets, or if you live in a rural community you can purchase direct from the producer. Each of these markets appeals to the consumer for different reasons.

How do you decide where to shop for your food? Is the best price the deciding factor? Does the market carry the specialty items you need? Is the food local?  Is the farmer or rancher someone you know from your community?  Do you belong to their “club”?  What atmosphere do you prefer when shopping? These are all good questions to ask yourself.  For each person reading this the answer will be different.

My life is busy. I prefer to shop in the small “natural” grocery, where there are fewer choices, less advertising displays, and each item is clearly labeled with all ingredients. Shopping should be an enjoyable experience, not one of sensory over-load.  We live in a small, rural community so we are able to buy our eggs and some meat direct from the farmers and ranchers in our community. May-October we also have a farmers market.

Recently the chain grocery store where I work, as a pharmacist, began an aggressive campaign to collect every individual’s email and phone number so they can download their “app”.  They send you extra coupons, or you can choose which coupons you download.  This caused me to pause and ask myself the questions I opened this post with.  What drives my decision about where to shop for my food?  Is it price? Is it convenience? Is it assurance of quality?  Take time to ask yourself these questions the next time you make out your grocery list. Sometimes keeping it simple is the healthier choice.