Whatever your fitness goal, diet is paramount to your success and unless you own a farm or small holding, that means you will probably have to head to the supermarket to stock up your fridge, freeze and cupboards with good things to eat.
Unfortunately, most supermarkets seem to be designed specifically to undo your best dietary efforts and so it’s important to learn how to navigate them safely so that you avoid the rows and rows of junk food that are waiting to jump into your shopping cart.
Here are some great supermarket survival strategies to use next time you do your grocery shopping…
Don’t shop hungry
Grocery shopping on an empty stomach can really derail your good intentions to buy healthy food. Hunger, normally combined with low blood glucose, can trigger sugar and junk food cravings which can be hard to resist – especially when you are confronted with shelf after shelf of cookies!
The best way to avoid temptation is to do your shopping after having eaten a substantial, healthy mean and definitely not on the way home from the gym after a hard workout!
Make a list
One of the best ways to ensure you don’t wander aimlessly around the supermarket filling your shopping cart with random junk is to make a shopping list in advance and then stick to it.
Plan your healthy menu for the next few days and then head into the store armed with your list so you know exactly what you need to buy and where you’ll find it. Not only will you have the all ingredients you need to prepare healthy and nutritious meals, you’ll also ensure you don’t inadvertently wander down the confectionary aisle and end up giving in to temptation.
Hunt and gather
The healthiest foods are arguably those that are in the most natural state such as vegetables, fruits, meat and whole grains. These foods have been part of our diets for over 10,000 years. In contrast, toaster pastries, ice cream and processed TV dinners have not and are all but devoid of essential nutrients.
As you stalk the aisles, think like a hunter/gatherer and focus on buying foods that are as natural as possible. Unless you could grow it, pick it or catch it yourself, you probably shouldn’t be eating it. Take a look at the ingredients list of your prospective purchases and avoid any foods that contain things that you cannot pronounce or identify.
Steer clear of danger
If, like me, you have a sweet tooth that you find all too easy to indulge, avoid temptation by steering clear of the sweet and cookie aisles in your local supermarket. You might think it’s okay just to walk down the aisle for a look but looking can soon into buying and that will lead to eating! Avoid temptation by steering clear of dietary danger.
Stick to the periphery of the store
Most supermarkets are designed the same way – with the fresh and healthier foods around the outside of the stores and the processed food closer to the center. This makes the necessary frequent resupply of fresh produce easier for the store staff.
Try to make sure you spend the majority of your shopping time in the periphery of the store so that you automatically stay away from the processed and unhealthy foods lurking in the central aisles.
Don’t bulk buy treats
There is absolutely nothing wrong with the occasional treat as food is one of life’s pleasures. It’s a bad idea to deprive yourself of your favorite foods all the time as doing so can make you resentful, trigger cravings and even binge-eat the things you have given up in the name of health and weight loss.
However, while the occasional treat is acceptable, avoid the temptation to bulk buy treats as the more you have in your home, the more unhealthy food you’ll be able to eat.
For example, that small packet of cookies is really not going to do you any harm – especially if it’s the only sweet treat you eat per week. But, while it might make good financial sense to pick up that “buy two, get one free” pack of cookies, any financial saving will be undone when you eat all three packs in a moment of late-night weakness!
So, by all means enjoy the occasional treat but only buy enough for a single portion to avoid unnecessary temptation.
Stay strong to the end
Supermarkets know that, as you are waiting in line at the checkout, you are probably tired, bored and maybe a little hungry. That’s why most checkouts are also stocked with candy. It’s all too likely that you will have used up your willpower by this point and end up falling foul of this last minute dietary ambush.
Don’t let the supermarket derail your good intentions; make sure you stay strong to the end. Ignore the checkout candy – don’t fall for their cheap tricks! Instead, rise above such sneaky tactics and just pay for your healthy food and leave.
Supermarkets are very convenient but they are convenient for all types of shopper – the healthy and the unhealthy. If you are serious about your diet and want to eat healthily, make sure you don’t fall foul of the tricks that supermarkets use to encourage you to buy the sorts of food that are better left on the shelf.