How to make healthier choices at the supermarket

Most dietitians will tell you, healthy eating starts at the supermarket. If you have healthy food on hand at home, you are less likely to reach for the chocolate late at night. Here are a few tips to help you when you’re doing your weekly shop. 

Don’t shop when you’re hungry

Have you ever gone shopping straight after work with an empty stomach and ended up with a trolley full of fatty, salty or sugary treats? Try to go grocery shopping after you’ve eaten a meal but if this isn’t possible have a healthy snack before you go. It will hopefully decrease the chances of any 2-for-1 chocolate bar deals sneaking their way into your trolley. 

Start with fresh produce

Make sure you head to the fresh fruit and veg isle first and fill your  trolley up with fresh produce before anything else. It can be an excellent way to help give your body the nutrients and fibre it needs, but also your brain a visual cue that your trolley is full and you don’t need to buy frozen meals and packets of chips to fill it up. 

Write a shopping list and stick to it

Make a rule that you aren’t allowed to buy anything that’s not on your list. This will hopefully stop you from impulse buying your favorite lollies because they’re on sale or grabbing high fat, high sugar and salty snacks without thinking about it.

Avoid packaged food

Another good way to help avoid buying packaged food is to shop at farmer’s markets. This means you’re less likely to buy oily, or salt and sugar-laden sauces. Why not challenge yourself to  cook a meal using only items you found at the markets. 

Use the free FoodSwitch app

It’s so complicated trying to figure out food labels and how much of each nutrient you’re supposed to eat so why not let the free FoodSwitch app help. You just pick up an item that you’re planning on buying, scan the label using the camera in your smartphone and it will recommend a healthier option of the same food type for you. 
 
This is great if you want to find a healthy new staple if your favourite brand of yogurt has too much fat or sugar in it or you’re looking for the most nutritionally dense peanut butter available, for example. You can also apply various filters in the app to help you find alternatives that are lowest in salt, sugar, saturated fat or that are gluten-free.
 
What are your tips for shopping healthy? How do you stop yourself from filling your trolley with special occasion foods? 
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