Grocery shopping can be difficult but can also be the most important part when eating being healthy. If I have junk food in the apartment, I will be sure to eat it. It is much easier to not crave junk food, if it isn’t there. I make sure to stock my fridge and pantry with all healthy options.
Barcelona has plenty of grocery stores, one on almost every street. There is one right below my apartment so, whenever I am hungry I can go downstairs and grab what I feel like. It is tempting to buy crackers, cookies, and snacks when browsing through the grocery store. Especially, when you go to the store hungry, everything looks more appetizing.
The first few weeks in Barcelona, I wasn’t sure of what to buy. This was my first time living in my own apartment and buying food for myself was a new experience. I’ll admit, my roommates and I’s shopping carts were full of Ben & Jerry’s and frozen pizzas when we first arrived. This needed to change.
The other day, I was on my usual jog and ran across a huge supermarket. I ended up buying fresh carrots, apples, strawberries, and celery. There are all types of fruits and vegetables, some that I have never even heard of. I was so excited that I found such a great supermarket a few blocks from my apartment. The supermarket also had fresh meat, fish, bread, and coffee stands that are always busy with customers.
This supermarket has become one of my favorite places. Its easy to go before and after class to buy fresh produce. Since I go so often, the workers recognize me now. Its fun to walk in the door with the locals smiling and shouting “hola!”. It makes me feel more at home to see familiar faces.
It is also difficult to grocery shop in Spain because I can never read the ingredients on the package, let alone the name of the item. What I have found is to look for familiar words like calories, fiber, protein, and the word “light”. My usual grocery cart consists of a cheese I get is called Tendre Light, bread thins for 99 calories each, rice cakes, All-Bran cereal, Special-K bars, and light cream cheese.
When I go to to the supermarket, I try to get the reasonably priced produce. Sometimes eating clean is expensive. Some fruits and vegetables are much more than in America. My favorite fruits are apples, bananas, and oranges and all very cheap here. I’ve noticed grapes, pineapple, and strawberries are expensive here so, I don’t get those as often. Celery, carrots, broccoli, and lettuce are all priced low and are always in my fridge.
My advice is to find a local supermarket with plenty of healthy options. Make a trip once a week to stock your fridge with fresh fruits and vegetables. That way, you won’t be tempted to buy processed, junk food that regular grocery stores sell. When you do go to the grocery store, don’t go hungry and study the labels. Make frequent visits to the supermarket to get to know the locals and enjoy your study abroad experience that much more!