Part 2: Healthy eating starts with healthy shopping: here's how to do it?

If you can stop eating processed foods and start eating natural foods you will achieve your weight loss or health goals a lot easier. However, it’s easier said than done when most of the produce sold in the places people buy their foods from (supermarkets), are processed and decorated with fancy packaging to look appealing. There are 3 ways we can suggest overcoming this:

  1. You can go to the greengrocers for your vegetables, the butchers for your meat and to your local organic health shop for your grains and legumes. This is what they did in the old days before the health epidemic from food-related diseases such as obesity and diabetes. We understand that this, however, is just not practical for most people it’s a huge change and that might be highly inconvenient to some.

  2. You can order your meals from natural nutrition focused ready-made meal company such as ourselves; it removes distractions and makes sure you are getting what you need. For some, this works well in the long term. It doesn’t require constant motivation, removes most of the opportunity for relapse and is often cheaper for single people who live on their own (considering utilities) or time-poor people who end up regularly indulging in unhealthy takeaways. We understand however that it is not a long-term fix for most people with families that need to do their shopping anyway or others that enjoy cooking and sharing meal times. That is why we have developed this program so that anyone on it can be independently healthy and share this health with their loved ones.

  3. You can learn how to shop healthily. For many, this is the Goldilocks zone between points 1 and 2. It’s genuinely a skill that allows you take control of your own health so that no matter your life situation, you will be able to keep on top of it; healthy living need not be an inconvenience. By not buying unhealthy foods and not having them in your house (within arms-reach), you are removing unnecessary temptation. Self-control doesn’t have to be an uphill battle, life throws enough of these battles our way already. Follow the simple points below to start taking control, consistently keep it up and before you know it, you will have developed a healthy habit that will change your life.

How to win at shopping

  • Go with a full stomach eating a meal before you go to the supermarket will significantly decrease your chances of making impulse purchases.

  • Also, avoid buying bad “foods” others in your household Eating healthily is not

    suffering and is not a punishment. If you have kids for example, they don’t need to be eating things like crisps or junk food either. They may not have a weight problem, but these processed foods can have a negative impact on their social interactions by causing mood swings, their physical growth, and their schoolwork. One of our directors was previously a curriculum director at elite school, where he found students concentration levels and emotional control, significantly improved when the school canteen invested in good nutrition.

  • Be realistic with yourself plan one treat per week for yourself (either 1 starter, main or dessert). We are only human, if we don’t plan a treat, are we going to be able to keep this up forever, are we likely to accept never having a treat again? Probably not! Remember it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. It is, however, extremely important to plan this treat in advance. It keeps you in control of yourself by ensuring the treat is a one-off treat and not the start of a bad habit. It will help to appreciate and be more mindful of the treat. This small change can easily change 5 packs of crisps per week for one and make you happier for it (if crisps are your chosen treat for example).

  • Plan your shopping before you go In any aspect of your life, being a step ahead puts you in a better situation than reacting to external circumstances. Sometimes it’s good to give control to others and take a back seat. Leaving your dietary choices to faceless processed food corporations that have no interest in your well-being is not one of those times. If you know what you want before you go into the supermarket, not only are you less likely to waste food (go team environment), you’re also less likely to make impulsive purchases for products you know aren’t actually good for you. We are all suckers for shiny packaging, that’s why the stuff is on there in the first place. Work out what you want to eat that week and write down the ingredients for each dish. It takes about 15 minutes once you get into it and stops processed food companies making that decision for you.

  • Try to avoid the middle of a supermarket - around the edges of a supermarket is normally where the healthy fruits, veg and meat, and other natural ingredients are. The ultra-processed foods with fancy packaging are much more likely to be in the middle of the shop. If you don’t see them, you’re not going to buy them. It’s not always the case but can help those who are initially struggling with self-control before it becomes a habit.

  • Don’t buy fizzy drinks, fruit juices, smoothies or milkshakes – whether sugary or full of artificial flavourings, these drinks are naughty and generally worse than bad food.

  • Try to buy single ingredients we hope this program will help you understand how to use them so that you no longer need to buy food like products instead. Frozen vegetables (that are just the vegetable) are also OK. It’s only when they start adding other ingredients to the frozen veg that you should start thinking otherwise.

    About packaging (do’s and don’ts)

  • The single best approach when considering packaging is to try and avoid it altogether. Natural ingredients rarely need it, processed foods do! If you only bought food that doesn’t come wrapped in plastic, you’re more than halfway there. That being said, not all food in packaging is unhealthy and just like most things diet related if it has an ‘all or nothing’ approach it’s not going to last long. You can stay on track and keep your healthy lifestyle sustainable by reminding yourself from time to time of the following points on packaging:

  • Low fat labeled foods aren’t as healthy as you think - The obesity endemic started when ‘low-fat guidelines’ first come into place. More often than not, the fats have been replaced by sugar (too much of it) and we all know the that’s not the way to go.

  • Take a glance at the products' ingredients if there are loads of ingredients or words on there that you don’t understand you’re likely better off putting it back.

  • If a food says no added sugar... - No added sugar is a good thing but it’s worth double checking that this omitted sugar has not just been replaced with arguably more harmful sweeteners.

This extract is 1 part of our food behavioural reconditioning program. This program comes with activities, support, recipes and delivered meals organised to help you get on top of your health goals once and for all. To find out more about our comprehensive programs, click the button below.

click for quiz on the foundations of meal prep, simple weight loss diets and healthy eating plans