Ever decided to go to the grocery store and "pick up a few things," only to return home with shopping bags full of items you didn't need? Particularly, items you shouldn't be eating while on your diet? You're not alone. This is an all too common scenario. Here are 4 tips on how to plan and organize your grocery store trips. With these tips you can greatly improve your adherence to any diet.
1. Plan Your Meals
Once you have a good understanding of your diet and what it entails, your first step should be to plan your meals. Planning your meals ahead of time will mean that you are aware what food items you need to purchase at the grocery store. Ultimately, this means that you will stick to what your diet requires of you. When you've planned your meals, try to work out the quantities of each food you require. A good estimation will mean that you won't have to return to the grocery store on numerous trips, which would in turn give you the opportunity to make extra purchases outside your diet guidelines.
2. Write a Shopping List
After planning your meals, write a shopping list. The list should include the items you require and the quantities. When you make the trip to the grocery store, it's important to stick to the list. Don't buy anything that's not on your list unless it's vitally important. Tell yourself: "If it's not on the list, desist!"
This is really important to remember because when you're in a grocery store, you're more prone to making an impulsive purchase. Grocery stores are designed to tempt you into buying. They spend a great deal of money hiring consultants to who advise them on how to set up stores so that people buy more. A way to avoid falling for these traps is to stick to your list. Remember, if it's not on the list, desist!
3. Don't Shop When You're Hungry
This may sound like an oxymoron, because yes, the point of going to the grocery store is to get food, to stop you from getting hungry. However, it's important to not wait until all the food in the house is finished before you go grocery shopping. If you go when you're hungry, you're more likely to be tempted to buy food items that are not part of your diet plan. You don't have to have eaten a full meal. Maybe a serving of fruit or a shake (depending on your diet), so that you're not 'starving'. For most diets however, you shouldn't be waiting until this point to eat your next meal anyway.
4. Avoid Shopping in a Bad Mood
Research psychologists have suggested that when we are in a bad mood (sad, angry, etc.), we tend to make more impulsive purchases. It's believed that this habit is an attempt to make ourselves feel better and is more commonly known as 'retail therapy.' Most people think of retail therapy in terms of buying new shoes and clothes, but it can also extend to any retail experience, including grocery shopping. Sometimes people tend to also try and make themselves feel better with food. This may include foods that are not part of your diet guidelines. If you absolutely have to go to the grocery store in a not-so-good mood, it goes without saying, "if it's not on the list …"