5 Ways to Master the Supermarket

by Christen Brownlee April 17, 2012, 09:28 am

Grocery shopping at the cheaper store across town or at a deep discount store like Costco may expand your savings. But it could also expand your waistline, according to a new study.

French researchers found people who shopped at discount supermarkets and in supermarkets far from their homes had higher body mass indexes (BMI) and larger waist circumferences than those who didn’t.

How come? People shopping farther from their neighborhood might go less frequently and, therefore, rely on smaller amounts of produce and fresh products, researchers speculate. In discount stores, there may be more options available for cheap, calorie-dense foods compared to healthy food choices like vegetables, fruits, and fish, wrote the study authors.

How can you keep your wallet fat and your belly flat? We turned to Alexandra Caspero, registered dietitian and owner of weight management and sports nutrition service Delicious-Knowledge.com, for some budget-friendly and health-savvy food shopping tips.

Make a List, Check It Twice
Good deals are meant to sway you into making purchases you normally wouldn’t, says Caspero. Your best defense: A shopping list. Research shows that people who make lists of the ingredients needed for their weekly meals before they reach the grocery store are more likely to maintain healthier weights. The reason: They’re not as likely to make impulse purchases.

Beware of Warehouse Stores
If you’re trying to pinch pennies, buying in bulk might seem like the smart thing to do. But be careful about throwing supersize items in your cart. “Most people don’t typically shop at wholesale stores for produce,” says Caspero. “They’re looking for that giant tub of Goldfish that they can keep in the pantry for a year or two.”

Big buckets of snack foods might be tempting to always have on hand, but they’re also full of preservatives, processed flour, salt, and sugar. That means they’re usually full of empty calories. Remember: Don’t buy something in bulk that wouldn’t be a healthy choice in a smaller container, Caspero says.

Store Your Reserves
Those giant containers at wholesale stores also warp portion sizes, explains Caspero. Your average container of hummus might have around eight servings, but the one you buy at Big Bulk Club might have 40. Hummus is a healthy food—unless you eat a giant portion.

If you still want to buy in bulk, follow this advice: Go home, immediately section off the food into portion-size rations, and then store them. That way, you’re under less pressure to consume everything quickly, she says.

Inspect Your Labels
Gourmet grocers and natural food stores like Whole Foods may have a better selection of organic fruits and veggies, but they have plenty of junk food, too. “That organic granola bar might not have high fructose corn syrup, but it could be sweetened with maple syrup,” says Caspero. “Sugar is sugar.”

Shop Close to Home
Your neighborhood grocery store could be the friendliest place to shop for your weight, says Caspero. You’re more likely to pick up fresh produce and smaller portion sizes since you can stop by anytime you want.

Orignial Article: http://news.menshealth.com/supermarket-making-you-fat/2012/04/17/