One of the most common pitfalls I hear people report to me about their lifestyle habits is their ability to stay strong and avoid the clever advertising and pull of not so nutritionally beneficial foods on their weekly shopping trips. What you don’t realise is even those educated to the sneaky supermarket grabs are not immune, and are faced with the same challenges as those less aware. Today I experienced ones of those shopping trips. Here is how I ended up in this sticky situation. I like to complete training sessions in the morning to reduce the amount of excuses I can make to avoid them when they are at the end of the day, but today was a double training day, and after smashing out an exhausting upper body session, I needed to venture into the hectic post work shopping centre for dinner’s vital ingredients. I was already aware of how hungry I was and knew I was in for a hard mental battle to avoid buying the entire ice cream aisle. I had some what of a list compiled for tonights necessary ingredients, but after quickly grabbing the essentials I begin to wonder the aisles. BIG MISTAKE. It took all my strength not to purchase the half price connoisseur cookies and cream ice cream (as you can see ice cream is a favourite of mine), and instead I grabbed two punnets of strawberries, some 90% dark chocolate and a bunch of bananas to replace those in my freezer, and I was back on track! Leaving the shops with only a couple of lindt chocolate blocks and some other pantry essentials in my bags, I felt like giving myself a high-five for my awesome will power. Instead of chowing down on a high sugar sweet after dinner I will make my own delicious ‘nice-cream’ and serve it along side some dark chocolate dipped strawberries. It’s important to note that this isn’t always the case when I am caught mid-week shopping. I often leave with plenty of ‘extra’ foods not on my list and do one of these ones ¯ \_(ツ)_/ when mum asks me why I bought a pile of quinoa, besan and coconut flours, my response, “it was on special”. So to help you all to overcome those supermarket demons I have complied my favourite tips:
- NEVER GO SHOPPING HUNGRY!!! I am a gremlin when I am hungry and my blood sugar drops, so I often end up feeling like ramming my trolley into the slow walkers who get in my way. Those low blood sugars also start to make you crave whatever food is in front of you in order for you to fuel your body. This plays havoc with that will power of yours, and it’s probably smart to avoid violent use of supermarket equipment, so ensure you snack on a carrot or apple with peanut butter or a couple of wholemeal biscuits with cheese before you shop.
- Shop on the outside aisles. This is often promoted by those ‘clean eaters’, who although have great intentions to reduce processed foods are unnecessarily labelling and demonising the food we eat, but it does have value to those wanting to stock up on fresh produce and avoid the majority of marketing ploys. And even if you are overcome by those ‘specials’ signs, at least they will be wholesome options added to your trolley.
- Come prepared. Always plan your shopping trip before you leave home. By compiling a list of ingredients for each of your meals for the week and sticking to it, you ensure you are buying exactly the produce you need for nutritious meals as well as reducing cost and wastage.
- Shop at local markets, butchers or green grocers. Not only does supporting local businesses help the economy it can also help your waistline. Everyone’s will power waivers, so reduce the temptation and stay away from the supermarkets. You will end up with only the freshest produce, and by buying seasonally you will save money.
- Remember, there is no such thing as good or bad food. Food is food, simple. What isn’t simple is the difference in nutrients we need from a variety of sources each day. By eating intuitively and keeping in touch with what your body needs, more often than not you will pick wholesome, nutritious choices as your primary fuel source. And if you’re feeling the connoisseur cookies and cream ice cream, then get it! And bonus if its on special.