How many times have you told yourself, “I am just going to pop into the grocery store for a few things,” and then end up buying way more food than you intended? If so, you are not alone. Grocery stores are carefully organized to entice you to spend as much money as possible – not to mention the weekly advertisements and email blasts sent out by your “friendly” grocer. Not only do many people tend to overspend during shopping trips, but they also end up buying products that were not planned. Not to worry. We shared some savvy grocery shopping tips with you last time to help your diet plan, and here are some more that will help you make smart, informed choices for your next supermarket trip.
Be specific: Deciding in advance how many meals you are preparing for and making a list for that is key to sticking to your diet plan. However, do not forget to be specific! For example: you are making a quiche that calls for peppers. On your grocery list, do not simply write “peppers.” Instead, specify the type and quantity, so 1) you do not end up with the incorrect product and 2) you do not end up with too many or too little of the item. This list takes a little bit more time to compile but will help keep you in control of your choices and your diet plan.
Never go to the store hungry: We have all heard this advice, and it is 100% helpful. If you are on an empty stomach, your ghrelin (hunger hormone) level is at its peak. Everything will be a temptation. Be sure to shop while you are satiated.
Use a cart instead of a basket: Logic would dictate that using a small basket would limit your purchases, and there simply would not be space for unnecessary purchases. However, a 2011 study in the Journal of Marketing Research observed 136 people as they did their grocery shopping and found that people who used baskets were three times more likely to pick unhealthy food items. Their study proposed that using a basket encourages the brain to trigger a need for instant gratification. Of course, you are ultimately making the decision on what to put in your cart or basket. But if this trick works for you, go for it!
Double check your cart before checking out: Once you have made your way through the aisles and have everything in your basket or cart, take a moment to pause and reevaluate what you have. Are the items only the ones you had on your list? If yes, then you are ready to check out. If not, are the extra items you grabbed still within your diet plan? Are they must-haves for this trip, or are they just items you grabbed on a whim?
Buy your groceries online: Changing your diet plan does not have to be stressful. While we encourage that you get familiar with your local grocery stores and learn how to scout out the healthiest options, we know that time is precious. There are many great online services that charge a small fee (if any) for delivery 7 days a week. Many services allow you to save your grocery lists for easy re-ordering. This is a great option not only for saving time, but it literally prevents you from making in-store impulse buys that are off-limits for your diet plan. Instacart, for example, allows you to buy your groceries online and have them delivered straight to your door within 2 hours. Supported stores in the Bay Area include Whole Foods, Safeway, Costco, and Bianchini’s Market.