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Six Ways to Prevent Triggers at the Supermarket

September 22, 2022
Six Ways to Prevent Triggers at the Supermarket - Lark Health

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Picture this: you go grocery shopping with the healthiest intentions in the world to lower diabetes risk with healthy food choices. Half an hour later, you emerge with a cart with apples, milk, eggs, and...ice cream, frozen pizza, and mac and cheese. How did that happen?

It could be due to supermarket triggers, which can come at you from all angles when grocery shopping. Still, triggers do not need to take over your grocery shopping decisions. The Lark DPP check-in mentioned a couple of ways to help!

Here are six ways to stay in control at the supermarket.

  1. Make a list. A list with plenty of healthy foods can serve several purposes. It can guide you through the store without needing to browse through the aisles with less healthy options. It can help you with meal planning since you need to think ahead when making a list. Finally, a list can let you see clearly how well you are doing at trying to follow that healthy lifestyle!
  2. Have a snack. Eating a healthy snack before you go to the store can quiet hunger pangs so you do not feel entitled to grab the first thing you see at the store. Stores know their customers well, and you are likely to see unhealthy, ready-to-eat foods as you enter the store.
  3. Check the top and bottom shelves. Manufacturers and store personnel have certain products that they want you to see, so they place these products at eye level. These products may cost more and be less nutritious, so be sure to check the top and bottom shelves to get the good stuff.
  4. Check yourself out. The self-checkout lane is less likely to have candy and refrigerated soda begging you to buy them. Even if the lane does have snacks, you will be so busy scanning and packing your groceries that you may be too busy to be tempted by the snacks. If your store has no self checkout lanes, a lane with magazines instead of candy can be helpful.
  5. Rush. The longer you stay, the more compelled you may feel to buy more. While rushing too much can lead to poorer decisions, it can be a good idea to aim to be as efficient as possible in running through your list and getting out of the store. That lowers the chances of browsing and making impulse purchases. Take your time when reading nutrition facts panels and ingredients lists on food labels, but moving quickly between healthy products can keep you from falling for the less healthy ones in between.
  6. Know the aisles. You may not know every product in the store, but you can have a general idea of what to choose in each section. Generally, less processed foods are healthier than ones that are more processed, which means you might look for whole grains over refined, fresh fruits and vegetables instead of juices or canned ones, and fresh proteins over frozen entrees.

Small Steps for Big Changes

Grocery shopping can be an important step in eating healthier, losing weight, and lowering diabetes risk. When you know the triggers that are common when grocery shopping, you can be more resistant to their subconscious effects and be more likely to come out with a cart full of nutritious, great-tasting foods to be proud of.

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