6 Supermarket Spots that Ruin Your Weight Loss

Article posted in: Lifestyle
woman grocery shopping

Grocery shopping can be a boom or a bust for your health. It all depends on how strategic you are at the supermarket: how much you allow yourself to stick to your shopping list versus freelancing. And part of that strategy is knowing your supermarket, namely, which aisles to frequent—and which to avoid.

Most supermarkets feature store layouts on their apps or near the entrance; it’s a good place to start. A good rule of thumb is to stick to the perimeter of the store, where you’ll usually find the healthiest options like produce, lean meats and dairy. But you’ll likely need to go down the aisles as well. For those more troublesome areas, follow these six tips to navigate toward healthier options.

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1. The breakfast aisle

Not only does it have a wall of cereal, it also has many other overly sugary breakfast treat options. Definitely not the right way to start the day. If you must: Go for whole grains. Choose cereals with 100% whole wheat and no added sugar; or go for oatmeal. Better yet, skip this aisle altogether and go to the produce section to buy fresh grapefruit, berries or oranges for your breakfast.

2. The salty or sweet snack aisle

Another tricky row to enter, simply because of the sheer number of not-so-good snacks at your disposal. If you must: Buy a bag of whole-grain pretzels or a jar of nuts to satisfy your salt cravings—but be wary of your portion sizes, as these can really pump up your sodium content if you overdo it.

3. The bakery

Here’s where your senses really betray you. Whereas other sections may feature visually appealing products, the bakery section has the wonderful aroma of…fresh…baked…bread. As a result, the bakery is the place that may get you salivating—and reacting instinctively—the quickest. (And that’s not even accounting for the cakes.) If you must: Get your whole-grain rolls and get out of there!

4. The soda aisle

You should pass by the regular soda and sugary drinks, of course. But if you love your diet soda, you may want to reconsider: some research shows that diet soda may actually contribute to weight gain. If you must: Water, water and, more water. Your body needs it, and it’s good for you, so stock up on some bottled water instead. Crystal Light is acceptable if you need some flavor, but regular water with a little fresh lemon or lime juice is even better.

5. End-caps and standalone displays

You’ve got two main problems with these. First, they greet you the quickest: endcaps are at the end of every aisle and the displays are in the middle of aisles, forcing you to acknowledge their existence because you have to go around them, so they’re hard to avoid. Also, they’re even more tempting because they usually feature items on sale. If you must: You will pass by these sections. But endcaps or standalones are only worth your time if there’s a good sale on a healthy item, like whole-grain pasta. Otherwise, just keep on going past them.

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6. The checkout line

Technically, you can’t avoid this one. But you can avoid the plethora of items (mostly single-serve candy bars) to choose from that tempt you as last-second add-ins to your shopping cart. If you must: Try the self-checkout if it’s available. There are no tempting treats and you’ll burn more calories scanning and bagging everything yourself. If you’re in a traditional checkout line, focus on the business at hand: unloading your cart. If you decide to buy something last-second, go for sugarless gum or breath mints. Either will keep you from truly splurging, and you’ll be buying something that can help you from eating between meals.