Lose Weight with These Shopping Tips
The supermarket can be a dieter’s best friend or a dangerous garden of temptation. The way you shop and the foods you select make a big difference in how your experience will turn out.
Change the Way You Shop for Groceries
- Understand what you’re walking into. The goal of any store is to get you to spend money. The layout, aisles, displays, checkout counters are designed to get you to buy more food. On top of that, most products within the store are developed with thousands of dollars in research on how to get more people to buy them. You’re not just going to a store to pick up a few things, you’re entering a shooting range with a target on your back.
- Eat first. Goes without saying, everything looks good when you’re starving. Shopping on a full stomach makes it easier to resist tearing into a box of cookies on the drive home.
- Wear fitted clothing. If your will power needs some reinforcement, wear clothes that make you conscious of your body. Jeans and dress pants will remind you of your current size. All kinds of changes can sneak up on you if you spend your life in sweat pants.
- Plan weekly menus. If healthy eating is still less than automatic for you, planning menus in advance may give you the structure you need. It will also help suggest what you really need to buy and what you’re better off skipping.
- Make a list. Having a list to refer to will help you remember to get the essentials for keeping your kitchen stocked. As long as most of your purchases are sensible, you can add a special treat to your cart and still feel successful.
- Read the labels. Hidden fats and sugar lurk in many products. Read the side of the cereal box to see if the ingredients live up to the claims on the front. One of our most popular articles was on how to read food labels, read it here: Learn to Decipher Common Food Labels.
- Try something new. Variety will help you enjoy food more even if you’re eating less. Experiment with exotic produce. Indulge in the tutti-frutti flavor of cherimoya. Roast a chayote squash or grate it over a salad. Try the International foods sections for more ideas.
- Enjoy free samples. For the ultimate in portion control, stop for free samples. It will help you get used to appreciating one bite without going back for more.
- Continue your education. Based on surveys and trends, mainstream supermarkets are trying to appeal to health conscious consumers and have sections and promotions devoted to health. Check out the free recipes and seminars that many stores offer.
- Shop the perimeter. The highest quality foods tend to be found around the outer rim. That’s where you’ll find produce, tofu, and yogurt. Only visit the inner aisles for specific items on your list and you’ll bypass most of the empty calories.
- Take a buddy. Making shopping more social can reinforce your good intentions. Friends can help friends reconsider buying bacon.
- Stay busy while standing in line. The checkout line bombards you with impulse options. Check your phone messages or read the magazine covers.
Change the Foods You Select
- Limit the processed food. You could be paying a high price for convenience food. In addition to the higher price tag, frozen dinners, box meals and commercial crackers often contain trans-fats and mysterious chemicals. On the other hand, it take just minutes to bake whole wheat pita chips at home.
- Fill up on produce. Devote most of your cart to fruits and vegetables. Buying a variety of colors is simple way to ensure balanced nutrition.
- Pick out whole grains. White bread and rice may cost less, but whole grains are a better value. Buy whole wheat bread, brown rice and oatmeal.
- Switch to low-fat or nonfat dairy products. If you eat dairy, skip over the whole fat dairy items. Grab the nonfat yogurt and skim milk.
- See what else your store has to offer. Your store many have many interesting and delicious foods hidden away that you’ve yet to try. Check out the health food section for vegetarian alternatives or the International food sections for new recipe ideas. Mediterranean and Indian foods are known for their focus on herbs and flavors rather than meat. Maybe some of those delightful authentic dishes you’ve tried in regional cuisine restaurants can be made at home.
Remember, you're walking in the lion's den when you enter the supermarket, learn to navigate it wisely. Enjoy your grocery shopping and bring home nutrient dense foods that you and your family will love.