Now that I have a plan and a goal, grocery shopping has certainly changed.
I've always started out with making something of a menu. I didn't have to have specifics per day - but I would write down 10-12 supper meals I planned to cook and make my grocery list from that. Then, the list of suppers was put on the fridge so I could mark thru them as I had prepared them. It helps keep me on some kind of plan, and especially when shopping. If I were to go into the store with no list at all, I would spend way too much money and not have anything to eat when I got home, or at least to make a good meal with.
I think 60-70% of what I'm buying now is out of the produce department. You can't go wrong with fresh produce and fruit, and you have complete control of how much sodium gets added.
Also, when I get home, I go ahead and prep everything. I wash the produce and repackage it all in ziploc bags or glad containers with tops. I'll use a paper towel to absorb the excess moisture. This works good with fresh herbs too, something new for me. I go ahead and slice my cucumbers - they are all gone long before they'll begin to go bad. Leave the fruit whole, it will keep better. And, I don't refrigerate my grape tomatoes - they are washed in their container, let drain dry, and set on the counter. A good quick snack for me - 3 or 4 of those - so I don't snack too much when I'm cooking or on the wrong things.
I'm not buying much meat - I get turkey bacon but one pound will last 3-4 weeks. A small package of ground chuck, browned, rinsed and drained and put in freezer for spagetti or chili later. We love chicken, so boneless skinless chicken breasts are always on the list. And fish - I've always got tuna in cans and pouches and canned salmon.
This week Prevention.com had an interesting article on particular foods to eat for certain organ health. For brain and heart health, they recommended garden salads with canned salmon. For heart function, grape juice. Grape juice can be a little tart, I tend to water my down a little. Or try this - buy the crangrape - cranberries are great for your urinary tract. If it's still a little tart, add one package of the artificial sweetener you use, (I prefer Sweet-n-Low, I'll explain later), and drink it iced. It's tastes great and is quite refreshing! Pour it over crushed ice in your favorite margarita class and head to the deck one afternoon!
I do buy deli cold cuts, usually just oven roasted turkey or roast beef, for when I crave a sandwich. I buy all 100% whole grain breads and pastas now. I still put a small amount of mayo on my sandwiches and I may eat multi-grain Tostitos or Baked Lays - depends - but I can actually skip those now and choose a thinly sliced Granny Smith apple to accompany my sandwich. The crunch will make you think you're eating chips, but, look at the calories and sodium saved!
The things I don't even bring home anymore are regular chips, cold drinks, anything sweet like cookies, etc., canned veggies (unless they are no salt added), very little cheese, quick prep stuff like Hot Pockets, frozen pizzas, etc. I pretty much avoid the boxed dinners like Hamburger Helper. I do buy Rice-a-Roni and turn it into a casserole with chicken and veggies.
I'm going to be adding some recipes that I've tweaked to work for me - hope you try them!
Also, I have switched to a whole grain cereal and soy milk. I have a problem even with skim milk, but the Silk brand in light vanilla is pretty good, especially with cereal which is the only milk I injest. And, I buy real butter that is unsalted. I use it sparingly but find it tastes better and is less of a problem that margarine. Don't forget the olive oil, and I buy a salad dressing that I like, again, because I will use it sparingly.
Allow time to read the labels, Mike and his wife are really doing this too, so we are able to share ideas with each other, especially on altering a recipe or coming up with something new. That has made this chore, which could have become overwhelming, somewhat of an adventure. What can I come up with that is good and healthy at the same time??? It's not as hard as you'd think.