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4498090_sOne of my favourite things to do as a nutritional coach is to go to the grocery store with clients (and their spouses and children) to teach them how to shop smart and healthy.  I highly recommend a grocery store tour to anyone who is looking to change their eating habits. To incorporate healthy eating habits, they have to start in the store.  Remember it’s hard to eat unhealthy foods if you don’t purchase them in the first place.

Part of the biggest problem with grocery stores is that their entire layout is one big marketing ploy. Did you ever notice that the milk (which people commonly run to the store to get) is placed at the BACK of the store? So, during that quick run to get the milk, you have to pass by all the other food? Not to mention that all the junk food is conveniently placed at the aisles by the check out. Don’t you think that’s a little TOO tempting?? Nothing like an impulsive purchase because you are bored in the lineup, you’re hungry or the kids see it and won’t stop fussing until they get what they want.

Here are some tips that I teach to my clients, although there are many these are some of the key ones.

  1. Don’t try shopping when you are tired, hungry or totally distracted. You are vulnerable to making unhealthy choices and not taking the time to read labels and think clearly enough to decipher what is good and bad.  Being hungry only tempts you to buy everything and anything simply because your body craves ANYTHING.
  1. Learn to shop the perimeter of the store. On the perimeter of the store lie the fruits & veggies, dairy section and meat/deli counter.  This is where the bulk of your food should come from.  It’s where food is found in its most purest and simplest form.  Most of the inner aisles of the store have the highly processed foods that contain large amounts of sugar and fat.  Something that I can’t stress enough to my clients… keep it simple and pure.
  1. ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS read the labels on EVERYTHING you decide to buy. Know the foods that you are putting in your body and know what the manufacturers are putting in these foods.  (both good and bad).  This also helps with weight loss. By reading the label you will know the calorie count, fat count and protein count.
  1. Try to find products with no more than 5 ingredients. And, if you can’t pronounce it, chances are you shouldn’t be putting it in your body.  When I come across an ingredient I’m not familiar with, I will often look it up online to determine what it is. Is it safe? What are the side effects? After finding out more information, you can make a decision on whether it is something you want to eat.
  1. Be prepared and shop with a list. It will keep you focused. You can shop in a timely manner knowing what you need and it will also help you stay on budget.

The next time you are in a grocery store, start well rested and with a full belly. Make your list and check it twice.  Spend some time reading the labels and understanding the choices you are making.  In the end, your healthy meals will be the result of the healthy food that you purchased.

If you have any tips you want to share, I would love to hear them. If you have any questions or need help, please feel free to ask! And don’t forget to leave a link back to your own blog too if you have one, via the commentluv feature you’ll find here on the site.

Happy grocery shopping!




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