Blog Archive

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Battlefield in the Grocery Store

Queso is a dangerous food. For me, at least. And I live in Texas so I feel surrounded by my enemy. One jar of Tostino’s queso in the house causes complete abandonment of any food intake norms. Avoiding the purchase of queso is another battle of its own. The chips and dip aisle is my first pass after produce. It’s not fair. They trap me. Most days, I am thinking clearly and can move on passed it without thought indulgin. Sometimes though….sometimes when I feel like emotionally eating or have low blood sugar, it gets me. Tostino’s chips and queso end up in my cart.

The grocery store can be a battle zone. Are you prepared? These grocers are smart. They will appeal to all 5 senses and derail your food plan. Once the bad food ends up in your house, it will end up in your belly. Every time, without fail. I suggest being prepared for your grocery store trips to avoid these situations and keep you on your plan for clean eating.

Tricks of the Enemy

1. Shelf placement-Food manufacturers fight for shelf space in the store. They know that eye sight is the best place to stock their products (arms-length for children for kids’ food). This means that usually the larger, name-brand products are placed in the best locations. Smaller brands will be at the top and bottom of the shelves. When looking for a healthy alternative, like a low-sodium, low-fat, or low-sugar item, you may need to look higher or lower for what you want.

2. Aisle arrangement-See the diagrams below for examples. The fresh produce, meats, and dairy products are all on the outside perimeters of the store. The processed, box foods are located in the aisles. The more you can create meals and shopping lists with foods from the outer perimeter, the better your food intake will become. Avoid the middle aisles except for specific items you need.

3. Impulse buying-In my pre-dietetics career, we knew the impact of product placement and impulse buying. So we strategically position the candy in front of the check-out counter. Grocery stores know this too. End cap displays and stand-alone displays in the middle of the aisles are meant to increase impulse buys. So are free samples.

Tips to Conquer the War

  • Don’t go hungry. This is the #1 thing you can do to avoid impromptu purchases. When you are hungry you lack all sense of reason and everything looks amazingly good.
  • Go with a list and stick to it. This will cut down on your browsing and being influenced by your senses. Know what you are going to get, get it, and get out.
  • Only browse the outer perimeter. Here is where are the fresh produce, fresh meats, and dairy products sit. This is your safe zones away from processed foods.
  • Only venture in an aisle for specific items on your list- The danger zone is within the aisle! Be stealth-like when grabbing your items from inside aisles. Don’t let the other foods see you in standing there. They will start talking to you.
  • Don’t take the samples. I will need to start taking my own advice on this one. I like to go to the store during lunch and use the samples as lunch. But it has lead to spontaneous purchases.

How do you avoid the pitfalls at the grocery store?

Today's Verse: "Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction." 2 Tim 4:2.

Next Blog: Superfoods are Super-Mighty!


  1. I am SO thankful for this blog! I've been searching for a Christian health blog out there..and I just am so thankful & excited about your wisdom and posts!

    I will be back for more!

    Thank you for this is such a battle sometimes!

  2. Wow I LOVE the way you explained the "truth" behind shopping. I have never thought of the grocery store as a battlefield,but it is so true!

    So glad to have found you through (in)courage! I look forward to reading more here!

  3. Abigail and Stephanie,
    I am glad you found the post to be useful. I hope everyone gains a little insight and can apply it for themselves.

    I am equally grateful to have found (in)courage. Looks a great community of women and I am looking forward to being a part of it.