How to Avoid Temptation When Navigating the Grocery Store
Make your shopping experience quick, easy, and efficient—without caving to the snack aisle.
Carolyn Williams, Ph.D., R.D.
January 09, 2018
1 of 8Photo: Randy Mayor
Make Your Grocery Trip Healthier
Even the most disciplined shoppers can fall prey to grocery store marketing and end up with a buggy of new products and must-have deals. Here are tips on how to avoid temptation at the grocery.
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Eat and hydrate.
When you’re hungry, the buggy often ends up full of processed snack foods and other refined grains and empty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and dairy, which equals less healthy food and higher costs. Make sure you go shopping after eating a meal, or have a filling snack beforehand to help you think with your head, as opposed to your stomach. Also, take water in with you to sip on to keep you hydrated and full.
3 of 8Photo: Jennifer Causey
Stick to the plan.
Take time to make a list of food and recipe needs for the week, and then stick to it. Cross out items as you add them to your basket, so you don’t lose focus and forget something.
Here's all you need for one week of waste-free dinners. Check the list of staples; chances are you'll have most of those ingredients on hand.
4 of 8Photo: Dan Dalton/Getty Images
Use a basket.
If you’ve only got a few items, carry a basket instead of a pushing a cart. You’re less likely to linger and more likely to stick to a list when your hands are full from carrying a basket.
5 of 8Photo: H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock/Getty Images
Stay in the outside lane.
The healthier, less processed—and often lower cost—foods are typically on the outer perimeter of the grocery layout, so stick to the edges when possible. Avoid cruising the middle aisles by only going down the ones that have items on your list.
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Leave the kids at home.
Research shows that children largely dictate a family’s food purchases—all that begging and pleading can wear a parent down. And if you're tempted by snacks anyway, they can push you over the edge into saying yes.
Simplify shopping and stick to your list by shopping without them, if possible. If you must take them, steer clear of the center aisles with brightly colored packaging geared specifically toward kids and usually placed at their eye level.
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Once considered only a big city luxury, ordering groceries online and having them delivered is now a low-cost reality in many places and probably the most effective way to actually stick to a list!
If grocery delivery isn’t an option, see if you can order online and pick up at the front of the store so you don’t have to set foot down an aisle.
8 of 8Photo: Lighthousebay/Getty Images
The checkout lines are backed up, you’re late for a meeting, someone’s baby is crying, the lady in front has 79 coupons to scan, and those chocolate bars are starting to call your name. The candy and soda sections at checkout are tempting, so if you have a hard time resisting, consider doing self-checkout. You’ll be busy scanning and bagging, so you won’t have time to even think about checkout treats.