When you’re trying to lose weight, the foods you put in your grocery cart can make or break your efforts.
It’s a simple case of supply and demand. You cut your demand for high-calorie food by reducing your supply.
“Bringing food that supports your goal into your home is one of the essential keys to weight loss,” says Joan Salge Blake, R.D., a Boston nutrition expert and a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. “Many Americans are overweight because they have too much high-calorie food too often. Making it less available by not buying it can help cut calories and drop pounds.”
Go for fresh
Blake suggests that you stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables. Try to keep salad greens, apples, oranges, onions, and other produce your family likes on hand.
Buy snacks in smaller packages so that your portions are automatically controlled. Look for 100-calorie cookie packs or half-cup containers of pudding. If you fill a soup bowl with ice cream when serving yourself from a larger container, buy frozen desserts in convenient half-cup containers instead of in half-gallon sizes. Likewise, having 100-calorie packages of pretzels or chips on hand keeps you from the temptation of eating handful after handful from a one-pound bag.
Purchase low-calorie food that's washed, cut up, and ready to eat, Blake says. For example, buy fresh pineapple or melon chunks from your grocery’s salad bar and store them in clear plastic containers at eye level in the fridge.
Read the labels
Become a label reader. Compare labels of similar products to see which is better for you.
Skip the cookie and snack aisles. That way you won't be tempted to toss baked goods, snacks, and cake and cookie mixes into your cart.
Blake suggests putting more value on healthy choices. Many of us think nothing of paying $4 for a cup of coffee every morning, but we won’t pay $3.99 for blueberries, which are packed with nutrients.
“Stocking up on healthy, low-fat, high-fiber foods is key to any weight-loss plan because you can’t eat what you don’t have in your cupboard or fridge,” Blake says. “By limiting your household choices to healthy, lower-calorie foods, you’ll be well on your way to a healthy weight.”