The supermarket can be a dieter’s best friend or a 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
1. Eat first. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. Continue your education. Even mainstream supermarkets are trying to appeal to health conscious consumers. Check out the free recipes and seminars that many stores offer.
9. Shop the perimeter. The highest quality foods tend to be found around the outer rim. That’s where you’ll find produce, tofu, yogurt and fish. Only visit the inner aisles for specific items on your list and you’ll bypass most of the empty calories.
10. Take a buddy. Making shopping more social can reinforce your good intentions. Friends can help friends reconsider buying bacon.
11. 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
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Look for lean cuts of meat. Buy sirloin tip steak and skinless chicken breasts. Ask the counter people for help identifying the leanest cuts.
4. Buy more fish. Aim for at least 2 servings of fish a week. Many recipes are fast and easy.
5. Switch to low-fat or nonfat dairy products. Pass over the whole fat dairy items. Grab the nonfat yogurt and skim milk.
6. Limit the processed food. You could be paying a high price for convenience food. In addition to the higher price tag, frozen dinners 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.
Learn to navigate the supermarket wisely. Enjoy your grocery shopping and bring home nutrient dense foods that you and your family will love.