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How to Navigate the Supermarket for Proper Nutrition and Weight Loss

Last Updated on August 14, 2012.

How to Navigate the Supermarket for Proper Nutrition and Weight Loss

By: TSMMA Bayside

The supermarket can be a dangerous place when you are trying to lose weight or become more fit. It is actually designed to get you to buy items you don’t really need. The layout itself along with attractive packaging and false nutritional claims can set up some real pitfalls. An example of this is all the sugary, salty, delicious cakes and chips on the end caps of each aisle or the candy right in front of the register. There are some rules to shopping in a supermarket that should be followed so we don’t sabotage ourselves.

First of all use the acronym H.A.L.T when you are getting ready to shop. This stands for hungry, angry, lonely or tired. Any of these feelings may cause you to buy on impulse and those purchases are usually not good ones. Make sure you have eaten and are well rested and if you are angry or lonely take a kickboxing or grappling class I guarantee you’ll feel better after.

When shopping treat the supermarket like an upside down “u”. You should only go around the outside and not down the center aisles except for a couple of items. If you think about your local supermarket when you enter, the produce aisle is on one side with the dairy all the way on the other and the meat along the back wall. These are really the only areas you need to be in. You might make a quick trip down the other aisles for things like brown rice, canned tuna or oatmeal but that’s about it. Sticking to this pattern with a heavy emphasis on fruit and vegetables and lean protein will automatically make you more successful in achieving your goals.

Finally don’t be fooled by colorful packages with claims like low fat, lite, low salt or sugar and all natural. These terms don’t mean something is actually healthy or even better than the original product. Usually no fat or low fat items are high in salt, sugar or artificial sweeteners to make up for the taste lost by removing fat. On the other hand low sugar or salt items may be heavy on the fat to give it flavor. Claims like low calorie, lite and low salt just means the calories or salt content is less then the original item but may still be high. All natural is a vague marketing term and its meaning varies from product to product. Try and buy food marked organic whenever possible, it  is more expensive but healthier.

One of your better overall options  would be to try and shop at your local farmers market or butcher. You might find it a little less convenient and you will probably pay a little more but it should be worth it. The food quality will be better and you will be helping to support local businesses.

Part of eating right involves planning and preparation. Put some time and thought into your food shopping and you will be on the right path to health and fitness.