A Few Tricks to Make You a Healthier Shopper

We’re all guilty of this at some point; you’re walking aimlessly down the grocery aisles looking for nothing in particular but you’re so hungry you’d eat just about anything so you grab food that you normally wouldn’t.

Did you just grab a box with bright, cheery colors (probably with a huge sunshine)? Or a bag of something with a happy, giggling kid on the front? Or you look in your cart and find the ultimate – a package of something with an image oozing with chocolaty gooey goodness and…what’s this? At the bottom of the package it reads: And good for you too! I…MUST…HAVE…

A few simple tips:

Before you jump in your car or walk to your local grocery store – grab an apple to eat before you leave. Shoppers who eat healthy snacks before heading down the grocery aisle left with a healthier haul than those who shopped hungry or full of junk food, a study shows.

Researchers gave three groups of shoppers three different snacks before shopping. One group munched on an apple slice, the other group was given a cookie, and the third group got nothing.

After peeking through their carts, the research team found that the apple eaters bought 28% more fruits and vegetables than the cookie group and 25% more than the group who shopped on an empty stomach.

healthy groceries

This is even more interesting: Researchers found similar results in a follow up study where they gave both groups a glass of chocolate milk before hitting the aisles. But, they described the milk as wholesome to one group and indulgent to another. The group that drank “wholesome” milk shopped significantly healthier than their “indulgent” counterparts.

So what does this all mean?

“Anything that puts you in a healthy mindset, whether it’s actually a health food or not, can change your mind to healthier choices,” said Aner Tal, PhD, one of the study’s authors.

It’s kind of like a produce aisle placebo. One little trick I use when picking up anything to throw in my cart, I ask myself this simple question, “How will this food nourish me and my body?” You’d be surprised just how quickly you put that pint of Ben & Jerry’s back in the grocery freezer!

So remember, eat a healthy snack before you grocery shop, and shop mindfully – your body will thank you for it.

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