The Hippo


Mar 17, 2018








Liz McMullen and Renee Trainor of Lettuce Shoppe. Courtesy photo.

How to get groceries
Alternative shopping for healthier eating

By Angie Sykeny

Grocery shopping can be a hassle. The number of products and brands is overwhelming. The lines are long and the aisles are crowded. Your kids are pestering you to buy all the junk food you can fit in your cart. By the time you’ve lugged the bags from the car to the kitchen, half the day has gone by. 

Amidst this grocery fiasco, it’s easy to forget about eating healthy. But between personal shoppers, online delivery and store pick-up, there are ways to reduce the stress of shopping while also becoming more health-conscious. 
Let someone else do the shopping
Liz McMullen and Renee Trainor are personal shoppers in the Nashua area. They started their business, Lettuce Shoppe, in February 2014, hoping to offer a service that would make buying groceries easier for busy professionals, moms, the elderly or anyone who struggles to find the time to go shopping.
Lettuce Shoppe customers simply make a detailed list, decide on a store, and pay a service charge depending on the purchase price and distance traveled. McMullen and Trainor deliver the groceries to your door and, for an added charge, will even put them away and organize your refrigerator and pantry. 
Hiring a personal shopper isn’t just convenient. It can also help to promote healthier eating habits.
“You are able to better control what gets brought into your house,” said McMullen. “I am sure that many of us are guilty of going to the store with a list in mind, but then we see that delicious-looking cookie or candy and somehow that makes it into our cart. By avoiding these impulse buys, you avoid the extra unnecessary choices." 
McMullen and Trainor are also New Hampshire food-safe certified. This means they can offer a meal planning service to help those trying incorporate healthier, more wholesome foods into their diet while also saving money.
“Healthier choices are also made by making your own meals or desserts at home,” said Trainor. “Having a controlled list affords you healthier options at a lower cost because the cost of prepared items [is] so much more exorbitant than homemade meals." 
Online delivery
Another alternative to traditional grocery shopping is an online delivery service such as AmazonFresh or Peapod. While many of these services currently serve only metropolitan areas, they are expanding. Peapod has now become an option for those in northern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire.  
With Peapod, you can do all your shopping online or with a mobile app. You can even view which products are on sale and compare prices. Delivery is as quick as next day, or you can schedule it as far out as two weeks. All food is delivered in temperature-controlled containers so that it is fresh upon arrival. Peapod also lets you view your order history, making it easier to create lists. 
Get it to go
If online delivery isn’t your style, you can also shop through a grocery store pick-up service like Hannaford to Go. The process is similar to Peapod. Browse through products and place your order through the Hannaford website or mobile site. Same-day pick-up is available as long as the order was placed before 3 p.m. Simply drive to the designated Hannaford to Go pick-up area, pay, and a Hannaford attendant will load the groceries into your car. Orders over $125 don’t have a service fee. Hannaford to Go is currently available in Nashua, Concord, Dover Fields and Goffstown. 
Why staying away from the store is good for your health
Michelle Smith, a dietitian with a private practice in Milford, said many of her clients take advantage of these alternative grocery shopping methods. 
“It’s convenient and it reduces temptation,” she said. “You know when you go to the store and you’re hungry, you’re more tempted to choose non-nutritious foods. Ordering ahead of time allows you to be very selective with what you want, follow a list, and stay committed.” 
When it comes to choosing products, Smith says to focus on meal planning. Buying only those foods necessary for a meal encourages healthier eating because it requires more fresh fruit and limits the boxed snack foods. 
“The hardest part for most people is consuming fruits and vegetables,” she said, “So it helps to think of all the different ways to consume them — cooked, steamed, roasted. Find creative ways to prepare them in a meal.”
Whether you order food online, hire a personal shopper, or decide to brave the aisles on your own, the important thing to remember is to slow down. Research the products before you buy them. Take the time to plan meals for the week. By sticking to your list and avoiding impulse buys, you’ll be able to eat a fresher, healthier diet. 
As seen in the January 15, 2015 issue.

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