Grocery shopping, when done right, provides one of the best opportunities to clean up your diet and improve your eating habits. Loading your refrigerator and pantry full of healthy choices will go a long way in helping you eat more nutritious foods while making the wrong choices will do just the opposite. Here are a few mistakes you should avoid while grocery shopping.
1. Shopping When Hungry. Never go shopping when you are hungry. When you are hungry you get cravings and if you go shopping when you get cravings, you will end up buying a lot of unhealthy junk food. When you are at your hungriest, everything is much more appetizing than normal. This will kill both your diet and budget.
2. Canned Foods. There are some foods that are very convenient to buy canned. They have a very long shelf life and for the most part, are cheap. If you eat too many canned foods, you risk increasing the amount of sodium you eat to unhealthy levels. Sodium is high in canned foods because it acts as a preservative. In addition to the high sodium content, the canning process can lower a food’s nutrient content. Buy fresh or frozen produce when possible.
3. Processed Foods. Processed foods are generally lower in nutritional value than fresh food that you cook yourself. Processed foods are frozen, canned or even bought hot and ready to eat. Generally, the less preparation time a meal involves before it makes it to your table, the more processed it is. Think about a frozen lasagna that you simply pop into your oven versus a freshly made lasagna that you had to prepare from scratch. Your homemade lasagna would probably be healthier. Avoid stocking your home with too many processed foods.
4. Snack Aisle. Every store has a snack aisle and you need to do your best to stay out of it. Junk food snacks are not necessarily. They can however turn unhealthy when too much of your calorie intake comes from foods such as potato chips, cookies, candy or soft drinks. Rather than stocking up on unhealthy snacks, choose healthier options such as fruits or vegetables.
5. No Shopping List. Going shopping without a list is as bad as going shopping while you’re hungry. When you know exactly what you need, you are lot less likely to venture off and buy foods that do not fit into your lifestyle. If you walk through every aisle without a purpose, you will start buying more than you need.
The Bottom Line
Avoiding the pitfalls of grocery shopping can greatly improve your overall health by helping keep junk food out of reach. Junk food can be part of a healthy diet but when a large amount of is so readily available, you will begin to make unhealthy food choices more often than not.