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