Smart Grocery Shopping
By: Gina Ostarly
We love shopping. We love eating. Combine the two and what do you get? The unglamorous, probably pleasant, but possibly perilous grocery store. This is where either good habits can begin or fattening tendencies can be boosted.
It really is up to you what gets put into that cart. It’s far too easy to forget that, as we look into our pantry at home, that we're the ones responsible for having to choose between an avocado or an apple turnover. What you buy at the store is what you'll put in your mouth at home. And yes, that apple turnover has a better chance of being eaten before the avocado.
WebMD.com writer Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD, shares in her article, “10 Tips for Healthy Grocery Shopping,’’ “Good nutrition starts with smart choices in the grocery store. Cooking up healthy meals is a challenge if you don’t have the right ingredients in your kitchen.’’
Ready to shop? No, you’re not. Much like sports teams on gameday, you need a game plan before walking the aisles.
There are two kinds of people in the world – those who make lists and those who don't. Whichever you are, we can work with it.
Check It Twice
If you’re a list lover, then your shopping experience can be fast and efficient. Write down what you need and start clearing off the shelves. This works best for people who like to cook their own food. Seems like it's all too easy to miss out on that ONE ingredient we needed for the main course.
Just like a football team has a list of plays before kickoff, we need an item list ahead of time. This is the best way to stick to what you need and not what you might be tempted by. Make a commitment to stick to “THE LIST.”
Sticking to “the list” will be the weapon that arms you for the days, weeks and months to come. If you don’t buy the wrong foods, you can't eat the wrong foods at home. “Out of sight, out of mind” goes a long way! “The List” is one piece of your armor to develop a healthier lifestyle. It's a guideline in exercising self control and taking responsibility to make better choices.
Your Attack Plan
As you enter the grocery store, first attack the “perimeter.” This is where you’ll find all the goodness God intended us to eat. Fruits, veggies, lean cuts of meat and seafood surround the store. You’ll find the nearby shelves include dairy products, whole grains nuts and seeds.
Ever thought about how a grocery store is laid out? Wonder why the milk is at the back of the store? Since it’s often something we have to “run” in for, wouldn't it make more sense to have it up front? That would keep you from walking down the middle aisles where you coincidentally (or not) run into temptations like cookies, sodas and processed foods.
Think it’s nice you are welcomed by fresh flowers and the taunting smells of baked goods when entering your local grocer? Almost feels like you could be in the Garden of Eden, right? Temptation is always lurking.
Reading is Fundamental
If you find lists to be lacking, then you'll need to be a good reader. Why? Because you need to read the nutrition labels of the items you buy to see if they deserve a trip home with you or not. Try to maintain balance with a good blend of proteins, fats and carbs. Too much of one is like having a grocery cart with one sticky wheel: it just slows your progress.
Most people tend to buy too many foods that are overly high in carbohydrates. This can be bad because the body can’t metabolize all that sugar, so it produces insulin and stores the extra calories as fat. Unless you plan to spend the winter outside, that isn't smart.
According to doctors Richard and Rachael Heller, authors of The Carbohydrate Addict's Diet, nearly 75 percent of overweight people suffer from an addiction to carbohydrates and the cause of this addiction is excessive levels of insulin. The Hellers say the rise of insulin caused by certain foods actually induces the “addict” to eat even more carbs.
Don't Fall for the Noise
Grocery stores are crafty and cunning in their marketing tactics. In the case of a grocery shopping trip, what you don’t know can hurt you! For instance, did you know the music that’s playing while you're shopping influences your buying decisions? Stores don’t spend money on music just for your pleasure. Research found in the Journal for Marketing reports that supermarket shoppers shopped longer, moved slower and purchased more when slow tempo music was played compared to fast tempo music.
How many times have you walked into the grocery store and found yourself meandering along the aisles, singing along to Michael Buble or John Mayer? According to Bankrate.com, music in a major chord with a slower beat is statistically proven to sell more groceries. Why? Because we slow down. We spend more time in the store because we’re walking slower and enjoying ourselves.
Statistically, you’re going to buy 40 percent more food than you originally planned. The music you might not have previously been aware of is literally helping you fill the shopping cart.
MarketingTeacher.com, a website representing a small group of marketing lecturers from Chinchester, England, report in their article “Consumer Behavior” how music influences a customers’ mood. Slow tempo music relaxes the customer and causes them to linger in the store longer, whereas fast tempo music may be better for stores and restaurants that need rapid turnover.
Money Saving Solution
If possible, do your grocery shopping with an iPod. Select high-energy songs that are suited to exercise or dancing. These tunes will have you bee-bopping your way through the store. You’ll be in and out with items on your list, instead of adding those spur-of-the-moment goodies.
If you can't shop with your own iPod, then do your best to ignore the music being piped in. Remember, it’s there for a reason. The longer you’re in that store, the more money you’re going to spend. Try singing AC/DC to yourself and get the heck out. At least you'll have a good excuse for rockin’ out in the produce section!
There you have it: a good way to buzz through your local food store and maybe do it fast enough to put your sneakers to work. MS&F