Diets are a stone cold drag. The cravings, the weighing of food, the taste of a Brussels sprout soufflé. No one – NO ONE – likes to diet. But you can help yourself and your family by shopping smart. Think of the supermarket as the battleground. Here's how to avoid temptation.
Start With Shopping List
Lots of people go to the market with no list so they roam up and down the aisles throwing bags of pork rinds and cases of soda into the cart. Yummm.
Then, there are people who do put together shopping lists and promptly forget them once they see that Oreos are on sale – two for the price of one!
Before leaving the house, prepare a shopping list. A nutritionally sound one. Then stick to the plan. It's a lot easier to show self-discipline in the store passing the ice cream freezer that it is when you hear that Rocky Road calling from your own freezer.
You decide what foods come in the house. Make good choices, write them down and stick to the list. Oh, and be sure to include some goodies on your list – but healthy goodies. For example, instead of tossing in a bag of taco chips, go for the pretzels. They're baked, therefore, less fat.
Substitute two items on your list for better, more nutritious food. The pretzels / chips thing is one, and instead of pork chops, go for some sole. Lightly baked with bread crumbs and you've got a taste treat with a lot less fat.
Entering Enemy Territory
Supermarkets are there for one reason – to sell food. That's why they make their food offerings so attractive.
The layout of every supermarket is the same. The first thing you see upon entering is a stack of soda, crackers, cookies or some other poorly discounted foods. Turn away.
The fact is, supermarkets arrange their food products so that all the necessities – fruits and veggies, milk, bread and other staples line the outer walls of the store. Think about your supermarket. Where's the milk section? Fruits and veggies? On the outside of the store – something you can use to your advantage.
Outer aisles in the supermarket contain pet foods, paper goods, cereal, coffee and other necessities. Ahh, but then there are those two or three aisles in the center of the store – where most people will see them.
This is where the snacks are and rows and rows of soda and other high-calories drinks. In some stores, bottles of water might be placed in the same row as the soda so as you go to pick up your Aqua Fina, you can not resist throwing a couple of gallons of Mountain Dew into the cart at the same time.
Another key selling area? At the end of each aisle are displays called carousels. Food makers actually pay stores for this key space, either by offering a lower wholesale price or through the exchange of money. These carousels are prime supermarket real estate and the only reason they're in place is to tempt you.
So, stay out of the center aisles of the supermarket and stick to the outer walls to find the foods that are nutritious instead of loaded with empty calories.
The worse thing you can do is shop hungry. You end up putting a bunch of foods in your cart for later. Hard to resist a dozen, high-fat muffins fresh from the oven. Especially on an empty stomach. So only shop when you're full.
Resist Temptation When It's Easy
Resisting temptation is tiring. It can also be stressful and downright depressing. When you know there's a pie in the fridge, all you can do is think about that stupid pie.
However, it does not take anywhere near as much will power to simply walk by the pie in the store. This is where it's easy to be strong.
Remember, you decide what foods come into the house. Substitute nutritious foods (frozen green grapes) for junk foods (candy). It starts with a detailed shopping list, a plan of attack (stick to the outer walls) and creativity – substituting good foods for bad.
This will not only help you avoid empty calories, if you make the changes gradually enough, your family will not even notice. No whining.
And that's a big bonus!