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Turnip the Beet! Nutrition and Wellness

Timely news, information, and innovative ideas to promote health and influence change.
grocery shopping

Don't Judge Me by the Contents of My Shopping Cart!

Do you ever find yourself sneaking a peek at other people's carts at the grocery store or have you been the victim of a nosy neighbor in the check-out line? Well you're not alone if you have. In a recent online poll I noticed that nearly 70% of people answered YES to the question, "Do you judge other people's grocery carts?"

This poll was not representative nor was it published in any researched-based journals; however it was interesting nonetheless. After reading the many comments that followed I noticed a trend in responses. It seems like the most 'judging' takes place when the grocery cart contents consist of processed foods (chips, pop, candy, etc.) and the absence of produce, particularly if someone is on the heavy side with little ones in tow.

Due to my interest in nutrition and healthy lifestyles, I do tend to notice what others buy, especially when they are unloading their items right in front of me. The important thing to remember is that their purchases may be for a party or special event and may not reflect what they eat on a regular basis. So don't be so quick to judge!

I always seem to have the same things in my cart when I go grocery shopping which is fresh fruit/vegetables, some sort of beans and whole grain bread/rice, fish or chicken, some organic milk and cream and whatever else I need for a particular recipe. My snack items aren't very exciting either (dried fruit and nuts for work mostly). I wouldn't expect someone to judge me based on these items but you never know.

There are many other factors that influence the way we eat and shop: cultural/personal preferences, religious requirements, a limited food budget, a lack of kitchen equipment to prepare home-cooked meals, time, family requests, medical needs, allergies, etc.

I think the important thing to take out of this is to worry more about yourself and what's in your own cart rather than everyone else around you. If you feel like your purchases aren't the 'healthiest' choices then do a little preparation before heading out to the store.

Make a list and check it twice! Make sure your list has all of these food groups:

· fruits and vegetables (go for fresh or frozen),

· lean protein (beans, fish, chicken, nuts, soy),

· whole grains (whole wheat bread, pasta, rice, oatmeal, quinoa, popcorn), and

some low-fat dairy (if you choose).

Helpful Tip #1: Be careful not to stray from your shopping list too much and watch out for those processed, snack foods that like to jump in your cart! I know they are tricky and have clever ways of ending up in your pantry at home.

Helpful Tip #2: Don't be too hard on yourself. We are often our worst critics. It's sometimes better to focus on 1 or 2 healthy new habits rather than a complete makeover all at once.

Helpful Tip #3: If you are like me and you have a short shopping list, pick up a BASKET instead of the cart. This way, you won't be able to carry as much and won't be persuaded by all of the promotional signs that might otherwise influence you to buy those 'extra items'.

Happy Shopping!

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