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How to Shop, Part 2

Posted: March 16, 2006

So you’re grocery shopping. Doing fine until you run across that Twinkie display. Or that Dorito’s display. They put those things right there where you can’t possibly escape them.

What do you do? Most people surrender and put them in the cart. Remember, over half of all Americans are overweight. We’re doing something wrong. Could it be it’s how we shop?

Have you ever seen a magazine ad for a hamburger, and you actually smelled it? You can even taste it. I mean, they’re full size. You can almost reach out and grab it off the page and eat it.

Of course that’s the point. They spend millions on advertising to get us to do just that. But what if we drew the line in the sand right there? What if we had the willpower to say no? When we see that box with the huge picture on it, and we can almost taste it we still said no. Not today! Not now. Today I’m gonna pass.

That’s what you need to do. There’s not a single thing you get that you don’t know if it’s good for you or not. You know if it’s good, and you know if it’s bad. There are no excuses. That’s where you have to make your stand.

If you don’t have it in your kitchen, you can’t eat it. You’re probably not going to get in your car and run out to the store at night just to get a box of cookies. It’s too much trouble. But if they’re on the shelf right there, you just might eat them all.

The first thing is to never shop when you’re hungry. Always shop after you’ve eaten. Then you’re full, satisfied, and can resist a little temptation. The second thing is to have a plan when you go to the store. Make a list.

Start in the produce section and fill up your cart with the good stuff for your salads. Get some fresh fruits for snacks and breakfast. Then get your whole grain breads and low fat dairy. Yogurts, cottage cheese, skim milk or 2%. Stay out of the cookie aisle. Say a prayer when you walk by that special end cap display!

Think in terms of meals when you’re shopping. Buy some chicken and meat for protein. Or some frozen fish for broiling or baking. Pick up some sweet potatoes, baked beans or whole wheat pasta for starch. Get some frozen vegetables for your greens, but watch out for those sauces. Make sure the package says zero Trans Fats.

If you want to have something sweet for dessert, or a snack, plan for it. Pick some healthy substitutes. Maybe some low cal frozen yogurt with fresh cut strawberries. Or slice up some apples with some peanut butter. Have some mixed nuts. Make some healthy muffins. Just think a little bit before you shop.

Start making some better choices, so you can look and feel better. Don’t surrender in the store. And next time you see that one thing that drives you wild—just turn and walk away!