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I may be the only one, but I actually really like doing the weekly supermarket shop. I love to browse the aisles looking for new products, laughing at some of the ridiculous health claims on what essentially could be termed ‘junk’ half of the time and letting my creative food imagination go wild! And it is for this reason that I have never tried online shopping, despite the other half’s best arguments to give it a go!

However, the supermarket can be a very, very dangerous place; not just to your wallet, but also to your waistline, me included. I have fallen into the basic traps far too many times, and so I have compiled a list of supermarket dos and don’ts so you don’t have to fall into the same supermarket’s traps as me and hence sabotage your health goals and budget intentions.

Don’t go shopping when you are hungry

If this is you, you are more vulnerable to those brightly packaged high sugar and high fat treats. Your stomach will be in control instead of your head. Don’t shop with your stomach leading the way! Do your grocery shopping after a meal or have a healthy snack before you do your shop. This will save your wallet as well as your waistline as you won’t be spending extra cash on unwholesome foods that suddenly seem like a good idea when you know they really are not.

Do make a meal plan

Think about what meals you want for the following week so you go to the supermarket with a plan, knowing what main ingredients you need (meat, chicken, fish etc) and roughly what you need to go with each meal. Which leads on to my next point.

Do take a list

Write down exactly what you need before you go so you are less swayed by sweet treats. You are more likely to stick to a budget, and more likely to save time in the long run, as you won’t have to make return trips when you realise you have forgotten the chicken for tea tonight. I use my smartphone to make my lists these days. It has my basic list already there and I can add to it as I need new things. Week to week I can select what I need  by ‘checking’ each item. Saves time and paper and means over time your list will include pretty much every item you ever buy!

Don’t be tempted by free tastings

This is something that is very enticing and just about every supermarket that I know does this, but don’t be lured in! Trying a small portion of ice cream may seem harmless enough, but before you know it, you have had a wine sample, a new biscuit variety, some chocolate, a dumpling, some yoghurt and a fresh baked cronut! All of these samples add up and you might have indulged in another couple of hundred calories just by walking around your local supermarket, enough to put your healthy eating plan significantly off track. Remember the principles of Mindful Eating. You can find out more about Mindful Eating here… http://bitewize.co.nz/article/how-mindfulness-can-help-you-lose-weight/ 

These free samples often come with money off vouchers as well. Remember these vouchers make you spend MORE money, unless you had already intended on buying that product or something similar.

Do be a label reading guru

Check out this Healthy Shopping guide from Healthy Food Guide magazine to help you when you shop. It looks at different products and what to aim for when looking at food labels. i.e. when looking for a healthier bread variety it will give you a guide for what to look for in terms of fibre and sodium etc.

http://www.healthyfood.co.nz/sites/default/files/HFG-Shopping-guide-Z-Card_A4-for-web_0.pdf 

In addition to the nutrition information panel, you will often see health claims on products such as ‘diet’ ‘reduced fat’ or ‘no added sugar’. But what do these things actually mean? The next link from the Healthy Food Guide goes through some different claims and helps to explain them, so you too can be a food packaging, label reading whiz in the supermarket.

http://www.healthyfood.co.nz/articles/2007/september/guide-to-reading-labels 

Making sure you do and don’t do these things will make supermarket shopping a lot less hazardous. I will have another five tips to complete this post next week. Make sure you watch out for it so you too can dodge the supermarket’s sneaky money making strategies and give yourself the best chance to be the healthiest person you deserve to be!

PS. If you read my last post you will know that I am taking part in weekly challenges set by my PT for his current clients. Last week I came second in a ‘gym triathlon’. This week we had to do 10 burpees, 20 sit ups and 30 body weight squats as many rounds as possible in 12 minutes. Well guess what? I won this one!!! Woohoo! Apparently I was a ‘Monster’ according to my PT haha, but I was pretty stoked I have to say. I managed 8 rounds 10 burpees and 14 sit ups. Safe to say I was a sweaty mess by the end, and hoping I had done enough to win. Now awaiting next week’s challenge…

 

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