Attention shoppers: Step away from the unhealthy sweets and junk food. You know, the impulse buying that threatens to derail your good health intentions. Easier said than done, right? The truth is, it’s not all your fault. The battle between you and your snack food is not really a fair fight. You are armed with only your vacillating willpower, while your grocery store has a full-scale battle plan, meticulously conceived to lure you into temptation. Purposeful product placement literally steers you to decadence at every turn. And you are an easy target, drawn like a moth to a flame.
Nope. Definitely not a fair fight.
Keeping our appetites for carbs and processed sugar in check is an ongoing struggle to be sure. The first line of defense is to keep them out of the house. And that means approaching every trip to the market as if you are entering a war zone. Will you go home triumphant? Or will the cookie crumbs be on the front seat of the car? Here are a few tips to help curb impulse buying.
Stick to the Perimeter
The fresh, healthy food you want to buy is located around the outer edge of the store. Fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy products make a ring around the perimeter. Most of the processed foods are in the middle aisles. If you stay focused on the outer rim, you have a better chance of success.
Eat Before You Shop
There is nothing grocery stores love more than customers who arrive hungry! It’s almost a guarantee they will head for the snacks and go home with items they never intended to purchase. It’s a sure-fire way to shoot that diet in the foot. Try to shop after you’ve eaten or had a healthy snack to curb those sugary impulses.
Make a List
Strolling around the store aimlessly hoping to run into the things you need is not the best strategy for avoiding impulse buys. Though your mission is to buy essentials, you are bound to encounter some must-not-haves along the way that will be hard to resist. Make a list of specific items and stick to it!
Stick to the Plan
Planning meals in advance is helpful to curb extraneous purchasing. Limit your shopping to only what you need for each meal and you’ll save time, money and calories.
You can completely avoid the line of fire if you have your groceries delivered. Use a local service or order online and this will eliminate the temptation of caving in to impulse buying altogether. Chances are you will save money in the long run by not loading up on stuff you don’t need—or really want.
Remember, avoiding impulse buys does not mean depriving yourself of treats that you love. It okay, even important, to indulge now and again. You’re not trying to turn snacks into forbidden fruit. You just want to be in control of what you purchase instead of giving in to the moment and regretting it later. Saying no to impulse buying will support your plan for healthy living. Think of it as the icing on the cake you didn’t buy!