Food! If you have not heard, I love food. I work in F&B outlet before and can talk about food all day long.
Food is an important part of our lives. We need it in socialising, cultural exchange, family gathering and parties. Nowadays, we are constantly surrounded with the physical presence or marketing effort of food. No wonder, obesity is on the rise. We are being bombarded constantly to think about food.
We need to eat. And we are what we eat. It is not just about satisfying our taste buds. We need nutritious food to feed our body and soul.
In a supermarket, there are a plethora of rich and sinful food to tempt us. There are new type of food coming out every so often, vying for our attention and money. Sometimes it looks too delicious and too valuable to miss out. Sometimes it is hard to stay healthy.
I’ve been there. I love my chips. But I also know what they will do to my body. With that knowledge, I try to make the best decision for my health in the long run. Anyone can achieve that. Here are 5 tips to get you started on avoiding temptation in the supermarket.
5. Create a grocery list
Plan out the perishable food that you need for the week. Add in other dried food items that you will need to stock up. Focus on the items you need and get out of the supermarket. If you don’t see it, you reduce your chance of having to fight with temptation.
Having a well-planned grocery list will help you to reduce food spoilage, missed out food items. It could also help you to save on dried goods if you plan your bulk non-perishable purchases to coincide with discount and sales.
4. Avoid the middle aisle
Generally, a supermarket is designed to have their fresh produce on the external aisle and junk food on the inner aisle. Similar to the previous rule, if you could help yourself by not looking at the junk food, you reduce your chance of having to fight with temptation.
Make your time fun in the produce aisle. Explore the colors and shapes of the fresh produces. Buy something that you have never cooked before. Learn about a new fresh produce. Heard of artichoke? How about fennel or brussels sprout?
3. Go on a full stomach
Food deprivation can alter the way we react to food. If we are hungry, we have a tendency to choose food that is higher in calories¹. This will happen if we are deprived of food even for a short period of time. The smart thing to do is to munch on some nuts or have your meal before heading down to the grocer.
2. Plan in temptations
Yes, this article is about avoiding temptation. But having cheat meals is not an uncommon practice. We can’t always be perfect in our eating habits.The real world requires us to build in some flexibility.
A dieter might develop an all-or-nothing mindset. If they eat something unhealthy, they might have a higher tendency to overindulge as compared to non-restrained eaters.
Rather than constantly depriving yourself and fall into an all-or-nothing mindset, you want to develop a healthy relationship with food. Plan for your temptations. Allow yourself to have X number of junk food in this trip. Don’t fight with your willpower, set strategies in place to ease into healthy eating.
1. Avoid food with more than 5 ingredients that you cannot pronounced
Although I mention that you could plan in for temptation, it doesn’t mean that everything should be free for all. Nowadays, some of our food products should be categorised more as a chemist toy than as a food. We have potassium benzonate, sodium benzonate, propyl gallate, butylated hydrozyttoluene and so on. And what does artificial flavouring really mean?
Best to stick with your fresh produce. However, if you need to purchase convenient food, always be food savvy and stay away from long list of chemical-laden ingredients.
¹June 24, 2013. Aner Tal, PhD; Brian Wansink, PhD. Fattening Fasting: Hungry Grocery Shoppers Buy More Calories, Not More Food. JAMA Internal Medicine.