Shopping for meals with friends
Meal prepping can be a daunting endeavor. Believe me. You might have a self-imposed limitation of certain foods to fulfill a diet goal. Or you might have blindly signed up for an 8-week food challenge at your gym, and you have been given a list of foods you can't eat, which, honestly, feels about as long as an episode of Sherlock, only far less enjoyable (speaking from experience...). So how are you supposed to tackle this? Not alone, that's for sure. (Disclaimer: Now I'm just speaking from experience here, but it's probably best to go shopping with friends who have the same list of food restrictions as you. That way you can avoid (read: pass by and cry over) the dessert aisles together.)
Shopping with friends gets you out the door
The first thought you have when you wake up on a Saturday morning is probably not, "holy crap, I can't wait to get up and go grocery shopping!" Nor does it need to be. Grocery shopping usually conjures visions of long lines and shopping cart jams (I will probably hit you with my cart at some point, and I apologize in advance). But grocery shopping with friends will not only get you out the door, but make for an enjoyable day full of positive potential for success. According to a study conducted about exercising in a small group (The Randomized Trial of Social Network Lifestyle Intervention for Obesity), those that exercise within a network have experienced more weight loss and lower blood pressure than those that go at it alone. The same reasoning can potentially be used in meal prepping. Friends with shopping benefits. It's like brunch, only more....productive?
Shopping with friends inspires ideas
You might be a walking Pinterest board full of fantastic meal ideas. Or you might be like the rest of us, just a normal human looking for answers. Shopping with friends can bring out the best of an existing dish, or inspire a whole new concoction. I recently went shopping with two friends and the entire shopping adventure was spent reading labels and thinking up ways to incorporate ingredients into my existing Paleo Pancake recipe, or figuring out how to make pre-packaged deliciousness from scratch.
Patrick Fung, fellow shopper and member of Crossfit Queens in Astoria, New York, enjoys the spontaneity found in shopping with a partner. "None of us were thinking about buying sweet potato chips until one of us found them and then we all picked them up and they ended up being the best," he says. Obviously, there are endless benefits to perusing aisles with like-minded fit friends. Oh, and speaking of reading labels...
Shopping with friends holds you accountable
The aforementioned "fitness challenge" I absent-mindedly joined, manically named the Whole Life Challenge, is about as difficult as any wellness challenge gets. It's Paleo, but harder? No maple syrup, no honey, NO PEANUT BUTTER?! How am I supposed to make my Paleo Peanut Butter Pumpkin Bars?! No matter, I've already made peace with my fate. And so have my shopping mates, who also signed away their maple syrup and peanut butter for 8 weeks. Julius Ching, another shopping buddy and member of Crossfit Queens believes in the importance of accountability and using friends as resources. "For newbies to healthy meal prepping like me, food shopping with friends educates me about healthy food options. Simple things like cooking oil, milk, flour, and snacks," he says.