Are you tired of cooking unhealthy meals? Do you always wind up leaving the supermarket with three bags of crisps and a guilty feeling? It's time to take control of your health and shopping habits. Here are just eight tips for smarter, more nutritious shopping while you're at the supermarket or grocer.
You're less likely to fill up on junk food when your cart is already full of the good stuff. Plus, it's human nature to plan meals in your head as you buy new things. You won't be tempted by microwave pizzas if you've already plotted next week's lunches by the time you finish in the produce section.
They aren't limited to the bread aisle. You can find whole grains in a wide variety of rices, pastas, cereals and oatmeals, and all of them are worthy additions to your table. Don't believe the hype that turns grains into monsters under the bed. They have a whole food group, so they're just as important as fruits and vegetables.
If you're only drinking a few sips of milk in your morning coffee, you aren't getting nearly enough dairy in your diet. Buy gourmet cheeses for your next dinner party; put a few cups of yohgurt in your fridge for late-night snacking. Milk isn't your only option for strong bones and an increased calcium intake.
How many additives and chemical colours have been poured into your favourite products? Check the label and see. You might be surprised at the sheer number of unpronounceable words on the ingredient list. If you can't spell it, don't eat it: Raw foods are always better for you than processed ones.
Carnivores, this tip is for you. Avoid fatty cuts of your steaks and pork chops; go skinless whenever possible when buying your chicken. Meat itself is a valuable source of protein, but its "extras" can turn a nice plate of tenderloin into something teeming with calories and artery-clogging elements. Choose your cuts carefully, or better yet, have the butcher slice them while you watch.
Healthy items tend to advertise themselves as such, so keep an eye open for anything that sells itself as, say, 100 percent fruit juice or sugar-free pancake syrup. These items are often right next to their sugary counterparts, but consumers don't even notice them because people always reach for their favourite brand first. Don't be afraid to linger by the shelf and really look at all your options.
Sales are a universal temptation, but dieters and healthy eaters should avoid buying anything in bulk, even if the heft comes with a great price. It's too easy to start binging at home when you have a jumbo box instead of just the one. Look for individual or portion-controlled sizes rather than the huge kind.
This simple tip can save you hours of trouble in the long run. Before you go shopping, sit down and make a list of the things you need or the ingredients you'd like to pick up on sale. Then, when you're actually browsing the aisles of Aldi, stick to your list and don't allow any extras. It'll be much easier to avoid the temptation of those biscuits when you're clutching physical proof that you don't need them.
These are just eight ways to make better decisions while grocery shopping. If you're serious about cleaning up your act and putting healthier fuel into your body, the supermarket is a great place to start.