Supermarkets in today’s society hold a massive influence over the products we buy and the way we consume them. For many people, their weekly excursions to the supermarket are the only way food makes it into their homes. Therefore, the decisions made during those trips to the supermarket can guide and limit food choices for the rest of the week. So what is the best way to shop in the supermarket, and how can you ensure you’re setting yourself up for a week of healthy eating? Read on to find out my top 3 tips to tackling the supermarket…
1. Always enter with an agenda
There are two types of people in this world – those who love lists and those who loathe them. When it comes to shopping in supermarkets, I believe that lists are absolutely essential! Lists are always great in helping you remember to buy everything that you need – there is nothing worse than arriving home from the supermarket, only to realise that you’ve forgotten a crucial ingredient for that night’s dinner!! But what if I told you that lists can also ensure you always make much healthier decisions? Studies have shown that tired or hungry individuals are far more likely to select foods that are higher in trans fats and sugar when shopping. Unfortunately, we can’t always time our shopping trips according to our moods. However, if we create a routine of writing lists when we are feeling refreshed and alert, then, no matter what mood we are in when entering the supermarket, we will always have a healthy game-plan. This means we’ll be less likely to be influenced by our ‘hangry’ selves while shopping and more likely to make decisions that support our health goals. Sticking to a list will also save time and money and make you less susceptible to impulse purchases.
2. Remain conscious and alert
This may sound obvious, but if you consider how many times you may enter the same supermarket over the course of a week, month or year, it is very easy to slip into ‘autopilot’ while shopping. Unfortunately, food companies take full advantage of this and catch vulnerable shoppers off guard. By strategically placing posters and products around the store, supermarkets can put ideas about food cravings into our heads that we wouldn’t have otherwise considered. This often occurs in the form of ‘limited edition’ flavours of popular foods, products at reduced prices and of course, those chocolates by the cash register just waiting for impulse buyers. It’s really important to enter the supermarket with clear intentions of what you’re shopping for and stop yourself when you realise you’re filling the trolley with soft drink simply because it’s half price.
3. Take control with knowledge
With thousands of different items lining the shelves, and a myriad of various “health” claims being plastered all over the packaging, it can be very difficult to determine which products are best and which ones should be left behind. Food items are packaged in a certain way to optimise sales. So, when companies notice that certain phrases such as ‘fat free’ or ‘no added sugar’ increase sales, they’ll likely take full advantage of them. These days, even foods like quinoa, which are naturally gluten free or low GI, are still labelled that way to grab consumers’ attention and entice them to buy those products. Therefore, it is vital that we gain our own understanding of what differentiates high quality items from well-marketed items so that we can make our own informed decisions.
If you’d like to better navigate your way around the supermarket to ensure you are setting yourself up for the best possible week of eating, contact Health Space clinics to inquire about a guided supermarket tour with Amanda today!
Health Space Bondi Junction
Available for consultations Monday and Thursday
Call 02 9389 0890 to make a booking