- I rarely or never write a shopping list.
- I go shopping when hungry.
- I go into a shop with little idea of what I’m going to buy.
- I buy things with little idea of who is going to eat them, or when.
- I buy items that don’t coordinate with each other or that will all be at their ‘eat by’ date together.
- I am easily swayed by multi-pack savings and special offers or by my children asking for things they see.
You can take control and use the many benefits of the modern shops and supermarkets to help you. It requires less time to be organized than disorganized, but it does take some practice. Here are the main tips that will help you shop to avoid mindless eating later at home.
- Plan, as far ahead as possible, what you intend to eat. If you can plan for a week at a time, so much the better. Write down all the meals you will have and then convert this into a shopping list including amounts. Organize your list into ‘like groups’ – e.g., all the fruits together, all the veg, all the dairy produce, and so on. That way, impulse buying is less likely to grip you.
- If you are a ‘nibbler’, include on the list several low- or fairly low-fat and calorie items which will, at least at first, replace some of the higher-fat, higher-cal things you’ve been used to nibbling.
- Before you go shopping, repeat to yourself: ‘Yes, I can stick to the list!’
- Shop soon after you have eaten. It is well known that if you shop when hungry you buy more, especially of the ‘instant energy’, ready-made foods like biscuits and chocolate bars. If possible, shop when you are in a positive and happy frame of mind.
- Shop infrequently. The list system should make sure you don’t have to keep dashing to the shop for things you forgot. Today, with freezers, fridges and so many long-life products available, you should be able to organize yourself around a weekly shopping trip. Most fruit and vegetables keep well for a week, especially if you pick them under-ripe and store them cool.
- Tempted by a special offer or multi-pack even so? Try to visualize who will eat it and when. Avoid big packs of anything if you don’t have a big family. Remember, we live in a society of plenty. We eat more than we need because we take home more than we needed to buy.