GOLDEN RULES OF GROCERY SHOPPING

The supermarket revolution has made grocery shopping an enjoyable chore that many of us now look forward to. Deals, bargains, special discounts and fabulous marketing and placement strategies have resulted in many of us buying much more than we actually in tend to, which, even with the right intentions, may result in wastage. Here are some points to keep your shopping cart precise, balanced and most importantly, healthy!

1.Thumb rule ­ never go shopping when you are hungry.This is one of the biggest reasons for binge-shopping. Studies have proved that hungry shoppers tend to shop more than necessary. What is more detrimental is that they tend to shop for foods high in calories. According to research, those who shop between 1 pm and 4 pm (most likely after lunch) buy lesser high-calorie foods than those who shop between 4 pm and 7 pm (peak hunger time for most). Even short-term food deprivation leads to a shift in the food choices towards unhealthy options. The best time to go shopping would be after a workout ­ you are feeling good about exercising and will stay committed to your health goals. It’s always a good time to shop for food and make healthy choices.

GROCERY SHOPPING 2.Shop alone, or with a friend or neighbour, who is health-conscious and believes in eating a balanced meal. While shopping, junk y food choices can rub off easily ­ especially with those `buy one get one free’ offers, which are common on junk food shelves. Also, avoid taking kids along because they tend to force you to shop for snacks that are high in sugar and fat. These food items are strategically placed on the lower shelves in the supermarket, which are easily accessible to children.

3.The more your cart is filled with fresh produce, the healthier you and your family will eat for the week.

Canned, frozen and pre-packaged foods are either high in fat, sugar, sodium or all of them. Avoid these. Let fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat and whole grain bread fill most of your shopping cart.

4.Learn to read and understand labels on food items. Many products have the term `low-fat’ on the pack. Even if you’re good at maths, this is one calcu lation that most people don’t get right.

Most low-fat foods are pumped with sugar or salt to make up for the taste fac tor. Read the nutritional labels to get an idea of the calorie content, and see if it makes sense to eat it in the first place.The ideal amounts would be: > For sugar: 5 gm or less per 100 gm > For salt: 0.3 gm or less per 100 gm > For fat: 5 gm or less per 100 gm Remember, your body is meant to be nourished. Just because it’s low-cal doesn’t mean it’s healthy. You should never eat for the calorie value; you should eat for the quality value.

5.When buying a product, check expiry dates, examine the packing for any tears, dents, puffiness etc.Many a time, items that are being sold at a discounted or reduced rate could be nearing their expiry date. Or could have defective packaging, which means its quality and safety have been compromised.

6.Be aware of the little bites that are placed near the cash counter. They are always high-calorie snacks like chocolates and chips, that are kept there to test your ability for impulsive picks ­ refrain and win!