5 tips to shop smarter at the grocery store to lose weight

by | Apr 18, 2022 | Last updated Jun 8, 2022

Go in the morning | Plan ahead | Bring a buddy | Avoid the crowds | Exposure

Sometimes, simply knowing that a fun food is in the next room is enough to tempt us into eating it. (Hello, environmental trigger.)

But you can break that habit.

We know what you’re thinking: How do I change an environmental trigger when the trigger is literally my home?

You’re about to find out.

Change your environment—and eliminate the trigger 

If you find that you cannot resist certain foods, you may need to keep them out of your home. 

But ice cream mochi doesn’t just appear in your freezer. Kettle corn doesn’t just show up in your pantry.

These foods come from none other than the grocery store: a large environmental trigger full of smaller environmental triggers. (Oh, great.)

We know that making healthy choices at the grocery store is easier said than done. After all, that bake-at-home spanakopita seems to chase you down the freezer aisle.

That’s why we’ve put together five weight loss shopping tips to help you shop smarter.

Note: This article is based on our Noom Weight curriculum. Learn more below.

Ready to make a lasting change?

A healthier you, wherever you are.

Weight loss shopping tip #1: Go in the morning

Ever heard of decision fatigue? That’s when the quality of our decision-making deteriorates with every choice we make. (That’s how bridesmaids end up in taffeta dresses, and how you end up with every candy bar displayed at the cash register.)

If you go to the grocery store after a long day, you’re going to be exhausted. By the end of the day, you’ve already made close to 35,000 decisions. (Wow. We know.) No wonder you come home with seven types of frozen pizza…and not the frozen veggies you went there for.

The solution: Go to the grocery store in the morning. That way, when deciding between ginger snaps and snickerdoodles, your fatigued mind won’t just decide to buy them both.

Weight loss shopping tip #2: Plan ahead

Planning ahead is the best way to stick to your calorie budget.

Once you’ve planned your menu for the next few days, figure out what food you’ll need. Then create a grocery list with whatever you’re missing.

When writing your list, group foods by sections in the grocery store: fresh produce, canned goods, and our favorite—the cheese counter. (Gouda, anyone?)

Doing this will help you:

  • Save time.
  • Stick to your list.
  • Keep on track with your goals.
  • Reduce the number of decisions to make (and avoid decision fatigue).

Nobody’s perfect, but do your best to stick to your list. Resisting the temptation to buy your favorite treat in the store is much easier than trying not to eat it when you’re at home.

Weight loss shopping tip #3: Bring a buddy

There’s strength (and willpower) in numbers. Going with a partner, coworker, family member, or friend who supports your journey can help you stick to your plan.

Oh, and bonus points! You’ve just turned a negative trigger into a positive one. (We’re so proud.)

Ready to make a lasting change?

A healthier you, wherever you are.

Weight loss shopping tip #4: Avoid the crowds

Grocery stores are overwhelming enough. Going during Sunday-night rush hour? Too much.

In fact, shopping in a crowded store can influence your decisions and make you more susceptible to marketing messages.  (Yeah, we’re going to call nonsense on that toaster pastry claiming it’s brain fuel.)

Weight loss shopping tip #5: Exposure

Exposure is a method that can help you overcome your triggers.

Repeatedly exposing yourself to a trigger (like the junk food aisle) is like lifting weights.

It will be hard at first, but soon it’ll get easier and you’ll replace an unhelpful habit (saying “yes”) with a good habit (saying “no”).

But if you limit your exposure to the trigger, you’ll build a habit of avoiding it. And just ask a psychologist: Avoidance isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. 

So, when in doubt, think of yourself as an emerging celebrity, and do it for the exposure.

Small steps lead to big changes.

Which of these tricks will you use the next time you hit up the grocery store?