Figure out what you need
Much of the challenge sticking with a vegetarian lifestyle is about having the pantry staples when you need them. One of the best ways to go is to create a list of foods, herbs, spices and snacks so that you don’t have to think about what to eat or cook when you are actually hungry.
Create a checklist before going to a store
Before you go to a store, create a plan. You may need certain ingredients or you may be going on an exploring adventure. These are two very different goals. You are more likely to get what you need when you put some thought into it beforehand and have a checklist.
Use a system to sketch your meals
There are a lot of vegetarian quick-reference guides that you can use when creating your meals. The basic idea is simple: eat a variety of natural foods to meet your energy and vitamin needs.
Shop by the week and by the month
As a vegetarian, you’ll have to purchase some of the foods more often because they are perishable and can stay in the refrigerator only for a week or two. Create weekly and monthly lists and use them to make your life easier during shopping.
Neighborhood supermarkets are getting better and better
In the past, neighborhood supermarkets used to carry mostly processed and packaged foods. However, these days they often may surprise you with the variety of vegetarian-friendly foods that they carry, including fresh and organic options.
Warehouse stores can be great for buying in bulk
Warehouses such as Costco, BJs and Sam’s Club can be great for buying foods and things in volume. Think carefully about what you buy there and what you can do with the foods from the clubs. You may not be able to eat a 2-pound container of blueberries quickly, but you can freeze a portion of them and use them later.
Natural foods stores may have the best selection
You may not be able to get everything you need from a natural foods store, but you should definitely visit one to see what options you have available. National natural food chains include Whole Foods. Earth Fare is a regional chain in the Southeast. Natural food stores are also likely to carry a variety of environmentally-friendly cleaning products and supplies.
Farmer’s markets are best for fresh foods in season
Farmer’s markets typically have the freshest fruits and vegetables. Many of the markets also carry a selection of other natural and organic products, including breads, cheeses, and honey.
Ethnic food stores are likely to have some interesting ingredients
If you have ethnic communities close to where you live, go to some ethnic food stores. It can be a very entertaining and enjoyable experience during which you will probably find a lot of interesting vegetarian-friendly foods.
Food cooperatives often offer cheap and high-quality products
A food cooperative is an organization that purchases food in volume to distribute it later among its members. Because of this, food cooperatives may have lower prices and great products. Cooperatives are often natural foods-friendly, which is important if you live in an area with no big natural food stores.