We all know that cooking with fresh groceries makes our food irresistible! It’s pretty straightforward and there’s no need to write a blog article on that. Ingredients are the most important input of our meals so it makes sense that if we cook with fresh ingredients from the season our dishes will taste like heaven.

The problem is that it’s difficult to integrate fresh groceries’ shopping in our routines, or at least that’s what we think. “How can I go to the market in the morning if I have to work? It’s better if I go to the supermarket after work”. Is it? Isn’t it just a trade-off of time spent in the morning at one place versus time spent in the evening at another place? The problem with this trade-off is that option 2 is not half as fun and energizing as option 1 and definitely our meals will not taste as good as if we go with option 1.

Fresh apples
Fresh apples

It’s easy to let our habits take over our lives and that’s why I would like to share with you 5 simple tips that helped me to integrate fresh groceries’ shopping in my weekly routine.

Tip 1 – Check schedules near you

It seems pretty obvious (and it is) but we often forget how important this step is. One barrier to shop for fresh groceries is that we think we are never available at those times. Probably near to our home/work there are several markets taking place in different weekdays. Here is a list of the markets near Lausanne so you can pick the most convenient ones according to your schedule.

Tip 2 – Avoid going on weekends

Markets are more crowded on weekends (just like supermarkets) and so it’s probable that you will not find everything you need (specially if you arrive late) and you will spend more time shopping for fresh groceries.

It was easy for me to get frustrated in the beginning because of this. I usually like to hike and discover new places on weekends. I felt like going to the market on Sunday took so much time that I started to hate it.

Tip 3 – Schedule it on your agenda

The problem with new habits is that it’s difficult to make them part of your routine. One thing that helps me is to schedule every new activity on my agenda, at least in the first weeks until it becomes a habit. When blocking time for a specific activity you are acknowledging the importance it has to you.

Want to start running? Block time on your schedule! Want to learn to play the guitar? Schedule the lessons on your agenda. Of course you will miss some runs and lessons but this will highly increase the chances of turning this activity into a habit (if you want more insights on this complex topic read “The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg”).

Tip 4 – Define what you would like to cook in advance

Do you feel like you spend too much time looking at ingredients and thinking how to use them? Do you usually end up going home with the same ingredients and cooking the same meals week after week? I used to fall into this trap all the time and yes, it tastes as “boring” as it sounds!

Avoid this trap by defining what you want to cook in advance. If you like to be spontaneous, start by defining just 3 dishes you want to eat that week. Like this you still leave plenty of room to use your imagination on the remaining days. 😉

Vegetables from the season
Vegetables from the season

Tip 5 – Check a season calendar before doing your list

Last but not least, check a season calendar before doing your list and then look for recipes with those ingredients. For example, in Switzerland the asparagus season is knocking on the door (April) and so I put it on my list and searched for “asparagus recipes” that I would like to try.

Bonus tip – Show up, relax, connect with people and have fun

Movie director Woody Allen says, “80% of success is showing up”. If we think about it, sometimes it’s as simple as that. Want to start running? If you show up every morning at the starting point the chances that you finish your training are pretty high. Thus, find time on your schedule to start shopping for fresh groceries in a local market and share with us your experience. Show up, at least once!

After showing up you just have to relax, have fun and enjoy your time at the market! This is a unique sensorial experience, starting with the radiant colours of fruits passing by the fresh smell of herbs until the soft textures of vegetables. Take advantage of this moment to connect with other people and asking farmers for recipe tips on how to prepare specific ingredients.

Shopping for fresh groceries in local markets is a great way to start your day! You will feel so relaxed and inspired on that day that you will accomplish much more in half of the time.

Do you have more tips and experiences on this topic? Share your story with the gookers community!

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