Beware of the Checkout Aisle!

Hello Loyal Soup People! This week I’d like to chat about healthy shopping habits. I’ve often written about how important it is to shop at the perimeters of stores, where you’ll find all the fresh items (fruits, vegetables, etc.). The closer you get to the center of the store, the more “processed” the food becomes. Cans, candies, chips, etc. However, have you thought about the dangers found in the check-out aisle? We often fill our baskets with healthy and fresh foods, and then grab chips and candy when checking out, because we’re hungry, low on energy, and well, the food is right there!

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) recently released a report that found that 90% of the food displayed in the check-out line was junk food (candies, cookies, and chips). 60% of the beverages were sugary. Only 2% of food and beverages were found to be healthy (fruits, nuts, etc.). The rest was somewhere in between (trail mix, granola bars…).

These check-out displays aren’t found just at the supermarket! Stores such as Staples, Best Buy, and Bed Bath and Beyond also have tempting check-out displays. Retailers know that people are much more likely to make impulse purchases while standing in line to pay.

There are a few tricks to avoid making these unplanned, usually unhealthy purchases:

– Never shop hungry. You’ll make better decisions when making regular purchases and while standing in the check-out line. Mustering will power while checking out isn’t too difficult if you aren’t famished. If you need to, pack a snack for yourself. Instead of reaching for a candy bar, grab some nuts from your own bag!

– Shop with a list and don’t deviate. Set rules for yourself. If something isn’t on your shopping list, don’t allow it in your cart!

– Pay with cash. This may sound strange, but several studies have shown that when paying with cash instead of credit cards, we are much more picky about what we put in our carts. When you physically hand over money to a cashier, and you see how much something costs, you’re more thoughtful about each purchase.

– Use the self check out lines. These were created to speed up the check out process, so retailers don’t put anything in the way of getting you out the door! You’ll find no tempting items next to the cash register when checking yourself out.

The check out line is just another way retailers are trying to trick us into buying things we don’t need. Treat them the same way that you treat false advertising and misleading labels. You know what you should be buying and eating. Don’t fall for tricks and traps. Stick to your healthy eating plan wherever you are!

*NOTE – Soupermom is not a licensed dietitian, doctor, personal trainer, or anything like that. She’s just extremely knowledgeable about healthy living!! But if you slip and fall while taking her advice, it is not her fault!