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How To Choose Good Foods In A Supermarket

Making a grocery list before you go to the supermarket, you are more likely to stay on track as well as save money by minimising on impulse buys.


With the help of a grocery list, you’ll find that your shopping is completed quickly and that you’ll have nutritious food available at home all week. Studies have backed these ideas and found that when shopping with a grocery list, shoppers are more likely to make healthier food choices and are able to stick to weight loss goals (1, 2).


3 Top Tips to help you choose good foods in the supermarket


Tip 1: Plan Ahead

To choose good foods in a supermarket, make sure you plan ahead. Research has found that those who meal-plan in advance follow an overall healthier diet and can maintain a lower body weight than those who don’t (3). Along with this, meal-planning and cooking at home are practises which have been consistently linked to a better quality of diet and lower body fat levels (3). You could create a recipe board which outlines your breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for the week to help you figure out both which and how much of ingredients you need each week.


Tip 2: Categorise

In order to keep your shopping trip stress free, you could try organising your shopping list into categories or depending on how the store is laid out. This can minimise the chances of succumbing to unnecessary impulse buys.As supermarkets are designed to get shoppers to spend their money, following a grocery list can help you stick to a healthy eating plan. It has been found that some supermarkets emphasise packaged foods over fresh produce in their promotional in-store advertisements and on flyers (4). This can make it easy to get side-tracked. If you find that you’re getting drawn towards discounted items or a fancy display of food,ask yourself first whether the item will fit into your weekly meal plan before buying.


Tip 3: Whole Foods

When you are planning your weekly food shop, try and focus on fresh wholefoods to give yourself a better chance at following a healthy diet. Although it is perfectly fine to treat yourself to treats now and then, remember that consuming too many highly processed foods such as sugar-filled cereals, chocolates, fizzy drinks and crisps can affect your weight loss goals and lead to unwanted weight gain (5). Many studies have linked the intake of highly processed foods with conditions such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes therefore minimising consumption of highly processed foods can help maintain health (6)


Unfortunately you may have realised that most healthy, natural foods tend to spoil easily. However the following healthy foods can be stored long term and have little chance of spoiling as long as they are stored correctly;


  • Nuts, many nuts are an excellent source of protein, fat and fibre and can last for up to a year
  • Canned seafood and meats, typically canned food can last for up to two years
  • Dried grains, these can be stored for years as long as you keep them dry and in an airtight container
  • Dried fruits are rich in fibre and as they are dehydrated the fruit does not mould easily. However remember that dried fruits do have a high sugar content therefore should be consumed in moderation
  • Dried herbs and spices, as they have no moisture content they can be stored for years as long as they remain dry
  • Honey, many people choose to use honey as it is significantly better for you than refined sugar
  • Coconut oil, as this has a high saturated fats content, coconut oil can last for years when kept at room temperature, it also has numerous health benefits

  • For more information on how to choose good foods in a supermarket, see our weight loss management course here;


    [Sources]
    1. Crawford, D., Ball, K., Mishra, G., Salmon, J. and Timperio, A., 2007. Which food-related behaviours are associated with healthier intakes of fruits and vegetables among women?. Public health nutrition, 10(3), pp.256-265.
    2. Dubowitz, T., Cohen, D.A., Huang, C.Y., Beckman, R.A. and Collins, R.L., 2015. Using a grocery list is associated with a healthier diet and lower BMI among very high-risk adults. Journal of nutrition education and behavior, 47(3), pp.259-264.
    3. Ducrot, P., Méjean, C., Aroumougame, V., Ibanez, G., Allès, B., Kesse-Guyot, E., Hercberg, S. and Péneau, S., 2017. Meal planning is associated with food variety, diet quality and body weight status in a large sample of French adults. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 14(1), p.12.
    4. Jahns, L., Payne, C.R., Whigham, L.D., Johnson, L.K., Scheett, A.J., Hoverson, B.S. and Kranz, S., 2014. Foods advertised in US weekly supermarket sales circulars over one year: a content analysis. Nutrition journal, 13(1), p.95.
    5. Mozaffarian, D., Hao, T., Rimm, E.B., Willett, W.C. and Hu, F.B., 2011. Changes in diet and lifestyle and long-term weight gain in women and men. New England Journal of Medicine, 364(25), pp.2392-2404.
    6. Steele, E.M., Baraldi, L.G., da Costa Louzada, M.L., Moubarac, J.C., Mozaffarian, D. and Monteiro, C.A., 2016. Ultra-processed foods and added sugars in the US diet: evidence from a nationally representative cross-sectional study. BMJ open, 6(3), p.e009892.