Healthy eating and glycemic control start with smart choices at the grocery store!
However, since most stores offer so many choices, we often find ourselves overwhelmed and end up buying foods that get in the way of our desire to improve our health.
All you need to avoid the most common supermarket traps is to follow Alma Health’s 6 tips that will help you navigate your way around the grocery store like a pro!
1. Plan Ahead for the Whole Week
Even before you set foot in the store, make sure to have a meal plan ready for the whole week. Use this plan to create your grocery list. If you want to be even more efficient, organize this list by store section.
Alternatively, you can use Alma Health’s Grocery List created exclusively for our members.
Once at the grocery store, stick to the list and do not deviate from it. This will help you avoid any impulse buys. Don’t fall for the trap of buying ‘treats’ for someone you live with! If it is not healthy for you, it is not healthy for them! Leave it behind!
2. Never Shop when you are Hungry
Studies have shown that shopping on an empty stomach will not only lead to poor food choices, but overeating as well. Make sure to eat a healthy snack before you go to the supermarket. You can also keep small snacks and a water bottle in your car or purse to avoid any hunger emergencies.
3. Shop Most of your Groceries from the Perimeter of the Store
Most grocery stores have the same layout; the perimeter or outer aisles are where you will find fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy and dairy alternatives, eggs, meat, poultry, and fish. You’ll sometimes find some baked goods and frozen desserts in this area, but you can easily avoid them once you learn how the store is set up. I will explain store layouts in more detail in an upcoming video! Stay tuned!
4. Be Strategic when Shopping from the Center Aisles
While most of your groceries should come from the perimeter, there are some healthy foods that you need from the center aisles. These include dried or canned beans, canned hummus, lentils, herbs, spices, whole-grain oatmeal and bread, brown rice, nuts, seeds, and oils. Since you now know that the center aisles are filled with ultra-processed junk food, make sure to stick to your list and avoid spending too much time around these aisles. Using this strategy helps you maintain your healthy goals.
5. Know the Store’s Tactics
Grocery stores spend a lot of money researching the way people shop. As a result, they know exactly which psychology traps work on you. Delicious smells, like freshly baked pizzas, or mouthwatering sights, like freshly baked cakes and cookies, are all part of the plan to make you buy more than you need. Recognizing these tricks will help you avoid falling for this trap on your next shopping trip!
6. Read the Nutrition Facts Labels
For all products you buy, especially ones from the center aisles, make sure to read the Nutrition Facts Labels. Choose foods that are high in vitamins and minerals, and low in carbs, fats, sodium, and calories. Also, be careful when buying foods that claim to be “zero-calorie” “fat-free” or “reduced in sugar.” These can actually have more carbohydrates than the regular version! So make sure to check the total carbohydrates for these foods.
Got any other grocery shopping tips? Share in the comments section below!