Grocery store shopping is an important part of the post bariatric surgery lifestyle. After all, the grocery store is where most of us will buy the vast majority of the food that we consume in a given week. While it may seem natural that shopping for one’s own food and cooking it is healthier than going out to eat, this isn’t always the case. In fact, many of the items found in the grocery store can be just as caloric if not more so than what we eat at a restaurant on a night out.
A perfect example is what we believe to be a healthy salad that we may make at home. While the greens are healthy of course, what we put on top can be highly caloric. In fact, dressings can take a salad from healthy to unhealthy very quickly. Similarly, canned soups, which are very easy to prepare, often contain significant quantities of sodium, which can make us feel hungrier, dehydrate us and at least temporarily increase our blood pressure. Creamed soups can add hundreds of calories to our dinners and all the while we’re convinced of healthy eating habits.
The trick to shopping well at a grocery store is to stick to the outer walls of the store, where most of the fresh produce and meat is located. The processed foods are usually stored in the central aisles. While shopping the walls may require more prep work at dinner time, the result is often fewer calories consumed at a given sitting. Plus, if you make a little extra at every meal, those leftovers can be stored in the fridge or freezer and pulled out at a later date for a quick, easy and delicious meal.
Sticking to the list you created at home also helps. Impulse buying is the source of many of the extra calories we consume. Just make sure you aren’t hungry when you create the list. Finally read the label. Even in the most innocuous items, you may see a huge difference between brands. For example, you may be buying a can of mushrooms. One brand may have lots of sodium while the next has relatively little – the extra thirty seconds of research can yield wonders over the course of a month or year.
So remember to shop the walls, stick to your list and read the label. Spending a little extra time in the grocery store and then preparing healthful foods can lead to losing a little extra weight without sacrificing your enjoyment of food.