10 Strategies to Make Grocery Shopping a Success

Many who have undergone WLS can attest to the fact that tasks involving food that were relatively simple prior to surgery may not be so simple afterward. This can also be the case for grocery shopping.

It can be difficult to know what and how much to buy on each grocery trip, and there may be a fear that you will fall back into pre-WLS patterns of food purchasing. While grocery shopping can seem like a daunting and overwhelming task after surgery, one of the best ways to set yourself up for success is to have a game plan. Here are ten strategies to make your grocery shopping trip a success.

1. Decide where to grocery shop

This may sound basic and like a no-brainer, but is important to consider. If you know of specific grocery stores for which you tend to leave the store with multiple items in your cart than what you originally had no intention of purchasing, these are likely not the best places to be frequenting for your weekly grocery shopping trip. When choosing your “go-to” store, try to find a place that is convenient and close to where you live, fits your budget, and offers the nutritious weekly staple items you need to stay on track.

2. Decide how frequently to grocery shop

One of the challenges I often hear from clients is discovering mid-week that they do not have enough nutritious food options on hand in their fridge or pantry to put together a balanced meal. This can lead to an increased temptation to order take-in or stop by a fast food establishment on the way home from work.  Depending on how frequency you decide to grocery shop, make sure that you are buying enough quantities of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein sources to get you through until your next trip to the store. In order to ensure you are buying enough at each trip, list the quantities needed next to each item on your grocery list.

3. Decide what time to go grocery shopping

It is important to make trips to the grocery store a built-in part of your weekly schedule. Maybe you pass by the grocery store on your way home from work. This would save you from having to make a whole separate trip, or maybe it works best to go on your day off. Either way, think of a time that you can make a routine.

4. Eat before you shop

Another important consideration is whether you will have the chance to have a meal or snack before heading out to the grocery store. Research shows that shopping when hungry increases the likelihood to purchase more energy dense foods (1,2,3). In contrast, those who shop when pleasantly full tend to purchase less energy dense foods such as fresh produce (1,2,3). Eating at least something small before heading out to buy groceries helps you to be in a frame of mind to make calmer, wiser decisions while shopping so that you can exit the store with a balanced array of nutritious and wholesome foods.

5. Consider whether you need convenience food options

Think of your weekly meal structure when planning what to buy. Do you get home from work late on Wednesdays and need something nutritious that you can prepare in a pinch? Are Saturday nights a “fend for yourself” type of night? Anticipate the situations when you may need some pre-made but balanced and nutritious meals in the freezer.


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