How many times have you gone to the grocery store with the intent to pick up “a couple things” only to leave the store with two or more full grocery bags? When was the last time you saw a special food display at your local grocery store and impulsively bought something you really didn’t need? Do you buy things you normally wouldn’t because you went grocery shopping while you were really hungry?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, don’t worry -- it happens every day and to almost everyone. Here are 15 helpful and practical things you can do immediately to assist you in making healthy decisions and improve the results of your shopping:
1.) Plan ahead. Sit down and plan at least three days' worth of meals (a week's worth is even better). Although it might seem time consuming, proper meal planning in advance will make your life simpler and less expensive.
2.) Look online for your favorite grocery store’s ads. Most of us go to a chain grocery store for the majority of our food. Perhaps we frequent a couple of places. Find their websites and see what they have to offer week-to-week. (Who subscribes to newspapers anymore? It's all online!)
3.) Make a list and plan when to go to the store. Using the online advertisements and your recipe file, make a food shopping list. Don’t forget to include all of the ingredients that you need for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and a few healthy snacks. Plan to go to the store at a certain time; a good time for me to go to the store is right after breakfast or lunch. Those times are the least crowded, making it more efficient for me.
4.) If you have kids, don’t take them with you. If at all possible, leave the kids at home. You need to go to the store without the kids because then they won’t run down the aisles, put items in the cart that you don’t want, or nag you to buy things you know you don't need. Also, without them, you'll get to focus and finish more quickly and have a little down time.
5.) Eat before you shop. If you’re hungry, the chances of impulse buying skyrocket. To solve this problem, have a snack -- preferably something healthy, like a piece of fruit -- before you go to the store.
6.) Wear your pedometer. You’d be surprised at how much you walk at the grocery store.
7.) Park in a spot that’s not too close to the door. Not only is it good for you, walking a little more will give you some time for yourself and provide some more activity while you shop.