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Survival Guide to Grocery Shopping

Updated: Dec 14, 2020

If you prefer to listen to this article, click the podcast link above.

Hello, my name is Teresa Cedeno. I’m a personal trainer and I’m going to show you how to lose weight.

Today ladies and gentlemen, we are going to a destination where there is danger around every corner. This environment is strategically designed to trap its visitors. Brightly-colored packages have been created to confuse and the odors within serve only to make its visitors hungry. No need to worry though because today I’m going to give you the survival guide to grocery shopping.

We have officially arrived at our destination, the grocery store.

Now Survival Tip #1 is Do Not Shop Without A Grocery List.

Let’s say you’re strolling through the bakery and you suddenly catch a glimpse of the infamous chocolate chip cookies. It’s just there, so warm, smells so good, and TA-DA! You’ve been caught by its trap and it’s difficult to resist. When you shop without direction, it’s easy to add items into your cart. When you don’t have a grocery list, you will scour the aisles searching for food that looks tasty and you will inevitably end up grabbing anything that catches your eye. Having a mission on the other hand prevents you from wandering and adding random items into your cart. So avoid unlisted items like they got corona! If it’s not on your list. Don’t Buy It!

Survival Tip #2: Don’t Go Shopping When Hungry.

My mom has this saying, “Con hambre, todo sabe rico” which translates to, “When you’re hungry everything tastes good”. So letting your stomach lead the way is surrendering to emotion. When you’re emotional reason disappears and you seek instant gratification and serotonin, your happiness hormone. You understand how buying Oreos isn’t going to help you lose weight but at the moment you don’t care. So avoid that inner turmoil and eat before going shopping.

Survival #3: Keep to the Perimeter of the Store and travel off course only if it’s on your list.

With your grocery list in hand, you notice that milk is first on the list and it’s all the way in the back of the store of course. Why in crocodile tails are essential items like milk and eggs in the back of the store. Wouldn’t it be so much more convenient if the store kept it in the front so you can get in and out quickly?! Well, that’s exactly what they’re trying to avoid. The longer you stay, the more items you will add to your basket. Placing essential items in the back also forces you to go through aisles of processed foods. Passing through may not seem like a big deal, but you’ll be exposed to more delicious temptations. If you have to enter an aisle, make sure to exit the same side you entered. Traveling along the edges of the store will be your best bet to shop for healthy and nutritious items.

DANGER! Don’t fall for impulse buys at the checkout line. Not much action and excitement are going on while you wait in line and with the boredom comes the potential you’ll look around and crave something of the display. Like a delicious chocolatey Snickers bar. It’s the last chance to grab some yummy treats before you leave but resist! This is just another strategy grocery stores use to encourage you to buy more stuff. Don’t fall for it!

Survival Tip #4: Beware of Health Halos.

Companies are under immense pressure to capture our attention. If they don’t catch our attention, we won’t buy their product. So they often use health halos. What are health halos, you ask? That’s a fantastic question! Health Halos are buzz words such as, “low fat, organic, high in fiber, lowers cholesterol, natural” If you’re trying to pick out the healthiest option, then these buzzwords will capture your attention. But be smart, just because the pretty packaging states that it’s healthy, doesn’t mean you should blindly believe it. you should still look at the nutrition label and compare it to other products. For example, the fat difference between Dannon’s low-fat and full-fat vanilla yogurt is only 2.5 grams. The low-fat yogurt contains 7 more grams of sugar than the whole fat yogurt. You will find this pattern in other low-fat products as well. Fat and sugar are what makes food taste good. When a company reduces the fat content in their product, it will taste bland, unless they increase the amount of sugar. Going back to our yogurt example, which one is better? Well, it depends on what you’re trying to achieve. If your goal is to lose weight, then choose the lowest calorie option. In this case, it’s the low-fat one even if it's only by 10 calories. If you want to lose weight but also moderate your sugar consumption, then you should go for the whole fat option or search for a non-fat greek yogurt. In the end, it’s important to keep your eyes open and check the nutrition label, and compare between products.

Now you should be better equipped to go out there in the cold, harsh grocery store. You can even print out your very own survival guide with the link below:

Survival Guide
Download PDF • 159KB

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