The A-MAZE-ing World of the Grocery Store

The A-MAZE-ing World of the Grocery Store
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Your Shopping List? You Wish!

Another day, another morning. Your regular, daily ritual: coffee with 1% milk…wait…something is different today. Your coffee is prepared with a French vanilla-flavored International Delight creamer, not milk.

It looks like the International Delight TV advertisement and their visual ad at the local grocery helped you choose between boring, plain milk and an exciting, delicious creamer. The creamer is “delightful” and “international.” Milk is just milk.

When you enjoy your coffee this morning, you will feel different—more like those happy, healthy-looking and smiling people from the advertisement. You will feel “delightfully.” You will feel this way as long as you do not check the nutrition label on the back of your “creamer.”

The ingredients: non-dairy product, water, cane sugar, palm oil, contains 2% or less of each of the following: sodium caseinate (a milk derivative), dipotassium phosphate, natural and artificial flavors, mono and diglycerides, sodium stearoyl lactylate, polysorbate 60, carrageenan, salt.

Compare it to milk’s ingredients: milk is just milk.

Smiling like this happy family from the advertisement? For most of us, grocery shopping isn’t something we get enthusiastic about. It’s another responsibility, a task to complete. Yet, we usually do not approach this task with a lot of planning. We rarely think about our grocery list in the context of what we really NEED and what we WANT to buy because of advertising from junk food brands on TV, in the store, online and all over the place.

That being said, even if we decide to do some planning and create a reasonable shopping list, this list is already corrupted. Unfortunately, it gets even more corrupted when we enter the maze of aisles in a typical grocery store. Particularly, the middle aisles of most grocery stores where it is typical to find unhealthy, processed food.

Then, on our way out of the store, in the registers area, we get enticed by the special deals and sales. Yes, the junk foods are very often on sale or offered as special bundle combos. The supermarket specials make it very difficult to stick to your shopping list, with tempting offers triggering people into buying more unhealthy foods.

However, there are strategies that can help you to avoid being manipulated and avoid filling your shopping basket with junk food:

  1. Make a list of what you need and stick with it! (unless you are buying more veggies!);
  2. Take a few minutes before going shopping to write down what you need;
  3. Plan your meals for the week in order to avoid buying too much unnecessary food;
  4. Do not go to the grocery store on an empty stomach, hungry or otherwise you will be tempted to purchase unhealthy foods that are processed, sugary, and filled with unhealthy carbohydrates;
  5. Be careful in the middle aisles of the store as they are filled with all the unhealthy foods and most of the healthier food is on the perimeter, which include shelves with fresh fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, meats and dairy products; and
  6. When tempted to buy unhealthy junk food, remember the negative outcomes of eating highly processed junk food: weight gain, feeling tired, generally poor physical health, risk of hypertension, diabetes and many other illnesses.
  7. Your “Lucky 7th”—Good things will happen when choosing unprocessed, whole food: more energy, better mood and physical health, weight loss and better sleeping habits. Remember this when tempted to buy junk food!

Pullout: “…there are strategies that can help you to avoid being manipulated and avoid filling your shopping basket with junk food…”

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