Managing Grocery Shopping During the Busy Holiday Season

Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC, Special Projects Coordinator at Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope

For many individuals in recovery from an eating disorder, stepping into and navigating a grocery store can seem like an obstacle course in itself. When food is overwhelming, the plethora of choices in a grocery store can be enough to send a person into a panic, which may lead to poor decision making with overall food choices.

Attempting to grocery shop during the holiday season can also be extremely challenging for a person in recovery from an eating disorder, and it is essential to have a plan when walking into a situation that may be challenging.

Grocery shopping during the holiday season can be even more of a challenge because of the increased crowds, advertisements, and options of food in general. If you are planning to do the grocery shopping for your holiday meal, be sure to go into the store with a list of all the food items you may need.

This will help significantly as it takes the guesswork out of grocery shopping. You can also categorize you food list into sections you might find at the store, like produce, dairy, meat, frozen items, etc.

Plan Ahead

Cute teenage best friendsOther ways to help manage grocery shopping during the holidays are to enlist the help of a close friend or family member who can be a support. Grocery shopping with a friend can help take the edge off or decrease the levels of stress or anxiety you may be feeling.

You can even split up your shopping list with your friend to make the list of things you are looking for and purchasing more manageable. Organize any coupons, cash, or payments before going into the store as well to keep the flow of things easier once you are ready to check out.

You may also consider doing your grocery shopping for holiday meals during off-peak hours, such as the early mornings, evenings, or even on weekdays. Shopping during a time when crowds are smaller may also be helpful in decreasing overall anxiety about purchasing groceries.

Be sure to take the appropriate time you need, and ensure that you are rested and fed before shopping. These tips and suggestions can help make your shopping experience smoother and easier.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

What tips might you have that may make grocery shopping for a holiday meal an easier experience, particularly for someone who is dealing with an eating disorder or in recovery?


Crystal Headshot 2Crystal is a Masters-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with a specialty focus in eating disorders, maternal/child health and wellness, and intuitive eating. Combining clinical experience with a love of social media and writing, Crystal serves as the Special Projects Coordinator for Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope, where her passion to help others find recovery and healing is integrated into each part of her work.

As a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, Crystal has dedicated her career to helping others establish a healthy relationship with food and body through her work with EDH/AH and nutrition private practice.


The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on November 23, 2015
Published on EatingDisorderHope.com

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