You are what you eat – as the old adage goes – is perhaps the greatest truth in today’s world. As we exercise our free will to dive into that bag of delicious potato chips, we hardly ever give thought to what it can do or does to our health. Indian buyers are spoiled for choice as the markets seem to burst with new products every other day. Supermarkets were a rare idea in the country less than a decade ago. Today, we have supermarket chains across cities and even your neighbourhood grocery store has revamped itself to the model of a mini market. For the consumer, the real question, therefore, is – how to buy healthy? Read on for some of the best shopping tips to buy healthy for you and your family.
1. Make a list
Make a list of items you need before you land in the supermarket or store. This way you will remain focused on what you are here to buy instead of filling your cart with more stuff than you need.
2. Read the ingredients
Always check the ingredients of products that you are buying if you are not familiar with it. Avoid food products with preservatives and high sugar content.
3. Ration your time
Spend as less time as you can in the supermarket. A common phenomenon observed across India is families spending nearly an entire afternoon shopping in a supermarket. The more time you spend, the more you will find yourself reaching for products you may not need.
4. Control Temptation
The products on display in a supermarket are not placed in a random order but after thorough research to see where they are most likely to be noticed and picked up. Since it is almost impossible to avoid aisles, the best shopping tips here is to not be tempted to pick unhealthy food items.
5. Choose the best one
One of the best things about supermarkets is the range of choice you can have for a product category. However, make it a point to go for the healthiest option. For example, if you are shopping for cereals, try to avoid ones with a high sugar content for your kids even though they may be attracted to its sweet taste and alluring packaging.
6. Let go of the Brand
Local products often have the same taste and better nutritional value than your favorite brand at half the cost. Let go of your brand loyalty and look for substitute products made by companies that aren’t as big.
7. Avoid Repeat Trips
Plan your trips to the supermarket and even to your local grocery store so that you don’t have to visit repeatedly. For every trip that you make, you pick up more items than what you had planned initially. So avoid repeat trips as much as you can.
8. Eat Before You Shop
If you are hungry, you will be prone to shop for more food and not necessarily of the healthy kind. Supermarkets have food counters and the aroma of food wafting through the air is meant to trigger your instincts to shop for food. If you have had a meal, you will probably not feel it much and will be able to stay focused. This is one of the best shopping tips – eat before you go shopping.
9. Buy Healthy Be Healthy
Instead of the packet of snacks or fried vegetable sticks, go for real and healthy foods. Supermarkets have a wide range of vegetables and fruits that your local vendor may not have. Don’t avoid the vegetable isle thinking your regular vendor has fresher produce. Have a look and you may be surprised with the prices and quality.
10. Go low on Sodium
As salt is a good preservative, frozen foods have a higher sodium content which is not particularly healthy for your body. Check the nutritional content of the package for salt content and always prefer to buy products which are low on sodium.
11. Check for Dates
Check for the best before dates for all products and especially for perishable items such as milk and yogurts. If the date is too close and you are not able to finish by then, you would have to trash it.
12. Checkout Aisle
As you wait to check out, your eyes are sure to fall on the rows of chocolates and candies in the checkout aisle. The longer you have to wait, the lesser are your chances of not giving in to temptation. If you have children, you know that it is very little you can do to keep those candies from jumping off the shelf into your cart.
13. Try new products
This is perhaps the biggest advantage of supermarkets where you can try new products launched by big or small brands. Read well into the labels and ingredients before you place them in your cart.
14. Buying Fish
Buy small sized fish from the supermarket as they are healthier than big sized ones. This is because of the arsenic and pollutant content in water where fish are bred. Small fish have less content while larger fish will have more of the toxins.
15. Prefer Trolley over a Basket
It has been found the those who stroll the market with a trolley shop for healthier items than those with a basket. Often the strain of a loaded basket makes it difficult to look for better and healthier products.