Grocery Store Pitfalls

Grocery Store Pitfalls

By Alana Compton

Supermarkets have always used tricks to make us buy more than we need especially when it comes to high fat, high salt and high sugar foods.

When faced with so much choice at your local supermarket it’s easy to make the wrong decision and get distracted by 2-for-1 deals or new products.

But going in prepared can help you resist those unhealthy messages. In an ideal world we would all be able to pick up unprocessed, fresh ingredients from our local grocers, butchers, fishmonger and farmers market but in reality not many of us have the time, or budget, to allow this.

Here are some common supermarket pitfalls and how not to fall for them:

  • Never go shopping when you’re hungry – Be wary of going to the supermarket on an empty stomach.
  • Feeling hungry or tired means we make bad food choices so try to have dinner or a snack before you do your weekly shop.
  • Make a list- This list should be based on the dishes you are going to cook this week.
  • Try to make dishes, which share ingredients, and use leftover dinner for lunch, to help keep your food wastage down to a minimum.
  • Ignore the buy one get one free deals- stick to your shopping list!
  • Minimise the time you spend in the depths of the supermarket – instead skirt around the perimeter where all of the fresh produce is kept.
  • Starting with fruit and vegetable aisles before passing through dairy to the fresh meat and fish counters at the back, onto the bakery for a whole-wheat bread and returning to the checkout via the freezer aisles on the left-far side.
  • Know which aisles products such as tinned pulses or whole-wheat pasta are kept so that you don’t need to walk into aisles filled with processed foods, which might tempt you.
  • Take some time to read your food labels – does your low fat yoghurt have lots of sugar added? Is your seeded bread made from white flour or whole-wheat flour?
  • Don’t dismiss the freezer aisle. This is a great spot to pick up chicken, fish, vegetables and berries, which will last longer and will not get wasted.
  • Resist False Bargains- Don’t be fooled by the buy one get one free (BOGOF) offers. Especially the packaged foods, which can make you over, buy. These deals are usually on the muffins, crisps, multi-packs and other treats, the things we should be eating less of not more! Before you buy- ask yourself ‘do I need double the amount?’ If a products full of fat, sugar and salt, leave both on the shelf!
  • Take a Cupboard Selfie- before you go shopping, take a picture on your phone of the inside of your fridge and food cupboard. It’s a quick way to see what you already have and what you’re missing, and how much space you have so you don’t over buy.
  • Buy More Online- shopping online helps you avoid impulse buys and makes you stick to your list.

It should give you a great deal of satisfaction to look at your trolley when you have completed your shop and see a minimal number of products in packaging but instead plenty of delicious, fresh ingredients which you know will be used up throughout the week and won’t go to waste.

If you make an effort to get this one day of each week right, it will set you up to eat well for the entire week and help prevent you slipping back into old habits.

Alana is a registered nutritionist with the British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT), an accredited therapist with The Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) and a master Certified Weight Loss Coach.

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