8 rules for grocery shopping when you’re hungry

We’ve all done it – gone to the store ravenous after a long day and ended up at the till unable to resist with a basket full of unhealthy choices. Don’t blame yourself. Research shows that people are hardwired to buy more high-kilojoule food when they grocery shop hungry.

The reason for this links back to the body’s survival instinct. Your body is always trying to defend its state, so if you go for a long period without food, your body is going to tell you to go for the food that’ll deliver the highest amount of energy – which is not going to be lettuce.

That being said, life happens and it’s a reality that from time to time we’re going to have to grocery shop while hungry. So let’s look at some handy tips to make it out of the shop without a basket full of regret.

1. Promise yourself a healthy snack
Before entering the store, think of something nice to eat like a granola bar or cup of fresh berries, and promise that to yourself as a reward for not buying any unhealthy food.

2. Make a list, and follow it
Shopping hungry is even worse when you don’t know what you’re looking for. Instead of browsing the aisles and seeing all the tempting food, follow your list and only buy what’s on there.

3. Carry your basket
Pushing a trolley makes it way too easy to dawdle. The more you put into your hand-basket, the heavier it gets to carry, so besides not buying too many items, it makes you hurry up and get done.

4. Avoid the danger zones
You know what your weak spots are. Don’t walk past the bakery section if you won’t be able to say no.

5. Buy just enough for that meal
A last-minute dinner run isn’t the time to do all your grocery shopping for the week, so visualise your dinner for tonight and stick to it.

6. Decide to use the express till
Ten items or less. And don’t sneak in any extras!

7. Put on your headphones
Listening to upbeat music will help you get in and out of the store quicker instead of browsing and looking for more stuff to eat.

8. Be prepared!
Finally, keep a snack bar or packet of almonds in your bag for when you absolutely have to go to the shops hungry, and help keep the munchies away.

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