Hunger leads to excess shopping
They say never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach -- and if you're like most people, you already know why: You'll fill your cart with too much food, including the foods you know you shouldn't be eating.
It's not just you. New research shows that if you go grocery shopping when you're hungry buy 18.6 percent more food than shoppers who have a snack before they hit the supermarket.
And as you can probably guess, the hungry shoppers don't buy extra fruits and vegetables. They buy 31 percent more high-calorie foods, according to the grocery shopping study in JAMA Internal Medicine.
Other studies have shown more specifically that hungry shoppers tend to choose carbs and starches -- also foods you should limit or even avoid altogether -- so next time you go grocery shopping, be sure to eat a healthy meal or at least a sensible snack before leaving home.
And if you really want to make sure you don't go overboard, here are three more steps you can take:
1. Shop the perimeter, since that's where you'll find the healthiest options -- and most of what you need anyway. The less time you spend in the aisles, the less likely you'll be tempted by junk food.
2. Make a list and stick to it. Tell yourself you won't be tempted by sales, specials and samples. And do your best to ignore the endcap displays.
3. Leave the kids or grandkids home so they can't pester you until you give in and buy the junk that neither of you need.
Finally, bring lunch and snacks with you to work and other places instead of buying them on the spot. The same researchers behind the new grocery shopping study found that when people wait until they're hungry to choose lunch and snacks, they buy more food.
Looks like it doesn't just pay to plan ahead -- it's healthier, too.