Grocery Shopping When You Are Dieting

Healthy diets = healthy eating = healthy shopping!

I’m going to suggest a few tips that will help you in your grocery shopping so you can stay healthy easier. Many people think grocery shopping is just stopping in at your local grocery, grabbing a shopping cart on the fly, and cruising through the aisles tossing boxes of this and that and making a quick pit stop in the fresh fruit and vegetable aisle.

Is that what it is to you?

Would you like to hear a few tips that will change that mindset forever? First of all, it’s CRUCIAL you make a list before you even leave home! I’m pretty sure most of us have to purchase milk, butter, and bread with almost every run to the grocery store. But what about the other items that have been used up since the last food run? Did you finish off the last apple in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator? Is there any more yogurt left to eat for the next few days? Any more peanut butter or bananas?

Start a list!

A good habit to get into is to have a notepad and pen/pencil available and in the same spot all the time. It should be everyone’s responsibility (this is a great task for the kids, too) to add an item to the list if they see the item is running low or is completely consumed.

I got my kids in this habit when they were little. I could tell from the penmanship who wrote what (and how many) and I’d give them small rewards (a baseball card pack, their favorite flavor of ice cream, glitter glue for crafts, etc.) for remembering to add items to the family list. Every little bit helps, especially when they are ones that are competing with you for most apples eaten during the week. LOL. The initial list is always a good starting point to have in hand as you go through the cupboards and pantry looking for items that you are missing or will need to make it until the next grocery run.

Healthy food, especially the fruits and vegetables, the low fat dairy items, lean proteins and whole grains should be at the top of the list. Fill in with other items to round out meals. Once you get to the grocery store, if you are only shopping for yourself, grab a basket instead of a shopping cart. By the time you pick up the “necessaries”, you won’t have room for the “bad for you, but taste good” stuff.

Mind games work, Folks, even with yourself.

If you start out with a basket, most of the time, it’s too much “work” to go get a carriage when you are at the end of picking up your food. You will automatically just say “forget it” to the foods not on your list. Try it! If, in conjunction to yourself, you have a family and need to grab a shopping cart, then have at it. But try to stick to your list. HINT – if you grab something to eat BEFORE you leave for the local market, you usually have more willpower and stick to your list better!

Another tip when grocery shopping is to start getting yourself in the habit of looking at labels. Check that sodium and fat content. The more informed you are of what is inside the can or box of food you pick up, the better choices you can make. Also, talking about labels, pay attention to brands. Just because it IS a name brand doesn’t automatically mean that it is better than a generic or store brand. Also, just because a generic or store brand may be cheaper than a name brand doesn’t mean it is a better value. Look at the labels and compare contents and values. There may be some items on your list where it will be worth you paying a few cents more to get a better product and then there may be some where you will be getting a better value and a better product in a store brand.

Practice becoming a better shopper and very soon it will be an automatic thing. Remember, the better shopper you become, the more effect it will have on your diet and your health.