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Four Healthy Tricks for Making Great Food Choices at the Grocery Store

Four Healthy Tricks for Making Great Food Choices at the Grocery Store

Large grocery store chains are old pros at tricking you into buying things.  Have you ever noticed that most grocery stores look the same?  You start in the produce section and work you way through the aisles around the meat department until you finally end at the checkout line full of candy bars.  Every time you give your rewards card to the cashier, the marketing department at headquarters is getting more and more information about your buying habits and how they can get you to buy more.  Did you know, you're more likely to buy unhealthy food later if you already have healthy food in your cart?  It's no secret that we start in the produce section and end with ice cream!

We also know that whole foods like fruit, vegetables, meats, and grains are supposed to be the staples of our diet.  Yet, grocery stores are full of processed foods that constitute the not so nutritious part of our diet, but sometimes the most abundant part. You've probably noticed over the past month that you could spend all day at the grocery store looking at labels. There's an easy solution - buy food without labels.  

 1.  Buy Food without Labels

The healthiest and most nutritious foods for us are the kind that decay - not sit on a shelf. Your challenge the next time you're at the grocery is to shop on the outskirts of the grocery store, the "living" foods.  Start in the produce section to buy fruit and vegetables.  Move on to the butcher for meat, poultry or seafood.  Lastly, move on to the dairy case. Frozen foods are not ideal, but an OK way to stock up on meats, vegetables and quick healthy foods.  By avoiding the middle aisles, you'll avoid unhealthy snacks, sugary foods, impulse buys, and all those processed foods with chemicals in the ingredients.  

2.  Leave Your Cart

We can't avoid those inner aisles completely - but I have a secret trick.  When you're done shopping on the outskirts, leave your cart and walk to get any staples that come from the inner aisles.  Don't "shop" down every aisle, but only go into the aisles that have things you need.  Only carry what you can hold in your hands.  You'll be surprised how easy it is to pass up a 24 case of soda when you have to carry it, and bread, and toothpaste and chicken broth across the store!  

3.  Never buy 2 for 1 

If you absolutely must have a bag of potato chips - grab them - but stores have this way of tricking you into buying 2 for 1 or a bigger bag thinking you're saving money - with your cart handy, it's too easy to grab the bigger bag. The problem is that once you're home, you're rationing double the amount of chips during the same period of time between trips to the store.  Whether it's soda or chips, it's much easier to practice restraint when you don't even bring them into your house.  

4.  Allow Yourself One Treat

Make a conscious decision to keep ice cream, cupcakes, chips, candy and other processed foods out of your cart, but don't deprive yourself either.  Buy one treat for yourself, a candy bar, an individual sized fruit tart, a single sized bag of chips.  A reward is a good thing, but also stocking up on a week's worth of desserts will ensure that you eat all that dessert.  Have a small treat, you deserve it!  

Most importantly, keep your body and your mind healthy by eating the things that give you the best fuel and make you feel like your best self.  

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