Your grocery shopping habits can determine the outcome of your weight loss efforts.
Do you want to lose weight and improve your health? Many experts would tell you that you need to start with a balanced diet and a good exercise plan, but others would say that the journey begins as you shop each week.
It would help if you learned some tips and tricks to grocery shopping because losing weight is more about making changes to your lifestyle than getting caught up in fad diets.
Grocery Shopping Habits to Help You Lose Weight
If you think about your last trip to the supermarket, how did you fare? Did you make a list and only buy the things on your plan, or did you overspend by making impulse purchases?
Dieting and losing weight is hard, but it’s more of a commitment to a lifestyle change than anything else. Here are 15 tips for your next grocery shopping trip that can help you in losing weight.
Start by making a meal plan that includes healthy food choices. You want to shop smarter, not harder, so this is the place to start. Next, you make a list from the meal plan, and you only want to buy the items on that list.
By shopping smart, you can buy nutritious foods and save money too. Most people impulse buy and forget half of the things they need, which often requires a second visit.
2. Shop the Outside Perimeters of the Store
If you notice how your supermarket is laid out, you will see that the produce and healthy selections are almost always outside. On the inside aisles is where you will find candy, chips, and other convenience foods. Try not to stray from the perimeter too much unless you’re going into a specialty section that will benefit your weight loss journey.
3. Devote Time to Fresh Produce Section
You should spend most of your time in the fresh produce section. If you’re serious about getting healthy, then this is the area to start in. You need to eat a wild variety of veggies, and make sure to pick lots of different colors for all your nutritional needs.
According to Harvard Health Publishing, you need a wide variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet because of the nutrients they provide. While some veggies provide vitamins and fiber, some fruits provide potent antioxidants. All these nutritional aspects are necessary for weight loss and overall good health.
4. Eat Before You Go
If you go to the store on an empty and rumbling stomach, then you’re more likely to make impulsive buys based on your hunger. The last thing you need is to give in to temptation and buy a massive bag of cookies or a quart of ice cream when you’re trying to get healthy. Eat a nutritious meal before you go, and you will probably spend less money.
5. Stay Out of The Candy Aisle
Though you may be tempted to go down the candy aisle for your children or spouse, it’s one area that you should avoid at all costs. Even if you’re looking for a candy bar that is 80-90 percent dark chocolate, it’s still not a wise choice to venture into this area. The smells and feelings that chocolate gives to people may be too overwhelming for you to resist.
6. Use A Click List Program
Click list programs have become popular these days. For dieters they can make your grocery shopping much more manageable. When you use these programs, you don’t even have to get out of your car. There will be no chances to mess up when you’ve everything loaded and already pre-chopped for you.
7. Read the Labels
Don’t be fooled by labels. Did you know that manufacturers can put anything they want on the packaging to make you try their product? There is little regulation about using marketing terms to sell food. So, it would help if you were wary of items that say:
- Low carb
- Not a low-calorie food
Many of these products use unhealthy substitutions that aren’t going to lower the calorie content or favor your diet.
The registers were designed for impulse buying. How many times do the children beg for candy bars, lip gloss, or magazines? If you are trying to diet, it’s the one place that you will come face-to-face with all the things you’re not supposed to eat.
It’s best if you focus on the task at hand, unload the cart, pay the cashier and leave. Better yet, you might want to do a self-checkout. Not only will you get a good workout loading and bagging the groceries, but these areas have minimal impulse-buy displays.
9. Shop Early in The Morning
According to Today, the best time to do your grocery shopping is in the mornings. The produce is always the freshest and less picked over, and there will be more supply. As the days go on and people pile into the store, the selection will become less attractive.
So, the key is to shop early, like right after breakfast, for better results.
10. Load Up on Seeds
Seeds are a friend to a dieter. Trying adding flax, chia, and hemp seeds into your daily eating plan. Not only are these loaded with fiber that will help you eat less, but they can also lower blood sugar levels, glucose and keep you feeling fuller for more extended periods.
Chia seeds can swell up to 15 times their size, so if you eat a handful of these before a meal, chances are you will consume much less.
11. Shop Organically
While it won’t affect your weight loss, try to shop organically when you go to the supermarket. You will avoid produce and other foods that use preservatives or pesticides. Have you ever seen the amount of wax that’s on a regular apple from the store?
It’s overwhelming when you realize all the extras they add to keep things fresh. Your body doesn’t need these “extras.”
12. Avoid Processed Bars and Diet Aids
Though you may be tempted to buy these diet bars and other aids, you don’t need them. Most of these bars use artificial sweeteners along with MSGs. Did you know that many of these chemicals are deadly to a dog or cat? If a dog or cat cannot eat them, then why should humans?
13. Just Say No to Sugar Alcohols
Okay, so you’re trying the keto plan, and you want to eat healthily, but you have a nagging sweet tooth. So, the first thing you do is go to diet-friendly snacks. One thing you will notice is that they use sugar alcohol instead of sugar.
The body does not digest sugar alcohols, and they can bloat you. If you see words like erythritol, arabitol, xylitol, mannitol, and isomalt, then you should avoid it. These products are all hybrids of sugars and alcohol together, and they’re useless additives.
On top of the bloating, flatulence, and diarrhea you can get from these products, you can also get headaches and nausea. Plus, according to Diabetes Strong, since these products act like sugar, some will raise your glucose levels.
14. Buy Yogurt but Check for Sugar Content
Yogurt is an excellent product that can help fill you up and keep you healthy. Buy one that has prebiotics for gut health, as well as one with low sugar content. Just read your labels, but yogurt is a versatile product that can fit into any diet plan.
15. Avoid Freezer and Convenience Foods
It may seem like the easy way out, but don’t fill your cart with convenience and processed foods. Even if these foods claim to be diet-friendly, they’re not the best option for you. When it comes to fruits and vegetables, frozen is better than canned as it has less salt and shelf-stabilizers added to them. However, most things are better made fresh.
Grocery shopping is a chore that most people hate. Thankfully, things have changed drastically over the years that make this daunting task a bit more manageable. Before you head to the supermarket to get things for your household, make sure you’ve eaten and are full.
It would be best to make a meal plan for the next week and then make a grocery list based on this meal plan. Having a checklist keeps you accountable for your purchases, and it allows you to focus on just the items needed.
If possible, frequent farmer’s markets and other such establishments that offer fresh produce. These are usually organically grown in your area rather than being shipped from all over the world. The local farmers pick their produce fresh, so you get the best offerings locally.
While losing weight is the goal, your journey must be about lifestyle changes. Diets don’t work, and many people quickly become yoyo dieters because they cannot go with these programs for the long haul. The key is to enjoy still the foods you want, but you must learn how to make them more healthily.