How should I approach grocery shopping if I want to lose weight?

Frances Largeman-Roth, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics
Wandering aimlessly through the aisles can be a recipe for weight gain. Watch this video featuring registered dietitian Frances Largeman-Roth to learn how to make a plan to help drop the pounds.
Rose Reisman
Nutrition & Dietetics
Many people who struggle with their weight don't know how to shop properly. The food you bring home forms your, and your family's, eating habits. The better the food quality and the less junk in your pantry, the greater the chances of successful weight maintenance.

Government regulations now require companies to improve their labeling so that consumers can make informed shopping choices. In the long run, this education should reduce illness and disease among Canadians.

My tips for smart shopping:
  • Don't shop when you're famished. You'll buy unhealthy foods.
  • 2Don't buy the bargains if the food isn't nutritious.
  • Stick to the healthiest aisles, often the outside isles, and stay away from the center, which is often the "junk" aisle.
  • Learn some "Labeling 101." Look for key words: sugar, trans fats and hydrogenated vegetable fats.
Paula Greer
Midwifery Nursing

If you want to lose weight and need to go grocery shopping put this image in our mind.

The grocery store is like an oasis of all the hidden temptations, riches, jewels and everything you could ever want but these are mirages that are land mines to your weight loss efforts. Amongst the land mines are the essentials you need for survival like food, air, water. Your job is to get the absolute essentials for survival while avoiding the land mines. If this were the case you would use a map.

That said lets make a map for the grocery store. Start with your list of essentials that you need to purchase. Develop this list by planning out your meals and snacks for the week and put only what you need on your list. Group the items so that you can find all the items that are close to each other in minimal amount of time and not wonder around aimlessly through the land mines. Set up your route to shop the perimeter with only brief excursions into the inner sanctum of land mines. Look only at what you want to buy and make a game to see how quickly you can get out of there avoiding all temptations geared to lure you in. Know ahead of time which labels and brands are safe. Learning all about the five food felons will help you to do this. Buying fresh unprocessed foods will also help you stay on track. The longer the ingredient list the more likely there is a felon involved.

To get started take along a guide. If you know someone who is losing weight and has this task down pat ask for his or her help. Two can get done twice as fast and help you to avoid that donut or cookie that may be calling out your name.

Dr. Andrea Pennington, MD
Integrative Medicine

Never go to the grocery store on an empty stomach! All the tempting, unhealthy food will be calling out to you even more strongly. You need to be well prepared and well fed! Select the healthy meals that you would like to prepare. Discuss what you're buying with roommates/family members. This can help you generate ideas for the menu and also keep you from buying things that other people will not eat.

Make a calendar for meals. You can use a monthly calendar to indicate what you are going to make on which day so you will know what you need to purchase. Create a shopping list by consulting the calendar of menus. Select basic items that you will use frequently and stick to the plan. It doesn’t matter if all the items on the cookie aisle are seductively calling your name; do not go down that aisle if it is not on your shopping list. Designate one reward item that you absolutely love to put on your reward list, and if you follow your list and diet accordingly, reward yourself with that item. Don't fool yourself about how it will affect your overall diet. If that item is chicken wings in the deli section, don't down a whole bucket. Try a healthier alternative like the baked and skinless version. Keep an ongoing list on your fridge or somewhere close by where you can jot down depleted items.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.