Weight loss success begins at the supermarket. It's true. The supermarket can be one of your best allies for getting healthy and losing weight.
But it can be a little confusing and tricky to navigate. The key is to have a guide and strategies to help you shop smart.
First, it's important to remember that supermarkets are designed for one purpose - to get you to buy and spend as much as possible. Everything is carefully orchestrated down to the last detail - organization, displays, lighting, signs, smells, music, product placements, sample tastes - to entice you to buy more.
The average grocery store stocks over 38,000 products all vying for a spot in your shopping cart!
Teams of researchers, marketers and psychologists are all working behind the scenes to get you to spend, spend, spend.
It's important to understand this reality. The grocery store is not interested in your health and weight loss efforts. You're going to have to figure that out without their help! So Be AWARE and Have a PLAN.
It's natural to feel caught in a battle between your best intentions (buy salmon, nonfat milk, and broccoli) and temptations (the smell of fresh baked bread, samples of fattening cheese, candy bars and soda lining the checkout aisles.)
So how do you steer clear of temptation and stay on track? How do you determine which foods to buy and which foods to avoid?
Have a PLAN, a STRATEGY, before entering the supermarket:
15 Savvy Supermarket Strategies for Weight Loss
1. Bring a written shopping list and stay focused on it.
2. Plan out major meals and add to your list all the items you need to make them.
3. Organize your list according to the layout of the store.
4. Stock up on lots of fruits and vegetables. They are low in calories/PointsPlus values and good for you.
5. Plan for a few treats so you don't feel deprived.
6. Resist impulse purchases. Remember that if you resist a temptation at the store, you only have to resist it once. If you bring home that temptation you have to resist it again and again every hour of every day!
7. Eat before you shop. Going to the store hungry is setting yourself up for difficulty. I used to stop at the supermarket after work, tired and hungry, and end up making terrible choices, including picking up a candy bar at check out to "tide me over" until I got home and made dinner. (Yes, it's those behaviors, repeated again and again, that land you in Weight Watchers.)
8. Focus on shopping the perimeter walls. That's where most of the healthy food is - the fruits and vegetables, meat, fish, and dairy. But don't be lured into the unhealthy stuff beside the healthy stuff (caramel beside the apples, fattening dips beside the carrots). It's another ploy to trick you into buying what you didn't intend to.
9. Avoid the inner aisles as much as you can. It's these shelves that are lined with lots of low nutrient highly processed products. When you are in the middle, stay on point getting what you need as quickly as you can and getting out. It's also interesting to note that the healthiest foods in these inner aisles tend to be on the top and bottom shelves, so look high and low.
10. If you can, leave the kids at home when you shop.
11. Refuse the samples if you don't what whatever it is they're sampling in your house. Tasting greatly increases the odds that you'll bring an item home.
12. Avoid coupons for unhealthy products.
13. Load up on the Weight Watchers Power Foods: fruits; vegetables; low fat and nonfat dairy; eggs; fish; lean meats and poultry; 100% whole grain light breads and pasta; lentils; brown and wild rices; hot cereals without added, sugar, fruits or nuts; canned vegetables and fruits packed in water; tuna packed in water; canned salmon; canned beans; frozen fruits and vegetables; whole grain cereals without added sugar, fruits or nuts and with 4+ g fiber per serving; quinoa, bulgur
14. Use your PointsPlus calculator or scanner (if you have eTools) to check out the PointsPlus values of foods BEFORE you bring them home.
15. Avoid check out temptation by using the self-checkout and/or grabbing a magazine to read to distract yourself from the candy and soda and other unhealthy snacks strategically placed all around.
Remember, your trip to the grocery store can be one of the most important things you do toward achieving your weight loss goals. Your success begins at the supermarket! You just need to be smart and savvy when you shop.
If you liked this article on Savvy Supermarket Strategies for Weight Loss, check out these links:
- 10 Tips for Healthy Grocery Shopping (WebMD)
- Healthy Grocery Shopping Guide - Smart tips for finding and buying the healthiest groceries (Prevention)
- Weight Watchers Plan Friendly Grocery Shopping List (Weight Watchers)
- Dr. Oz's Supermarket Survival Guide
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