How to Shop Right
If you’ve just had or are planning to have bariatric surgery in Houston, diet will play a pivotal role in the surgery’s success. However, it can be a challenge to see past the tempting, less-than-nutritious items at the grocery store. The good news is that avoiding temptation is easier than you may think.
According to information revealed by Psychology Today, a supermarket is much more than a place where you buy food. Every aspect of a supermarket has been designed to get you to stay and spend your money, right down to the music and lighting.1
For example, the fact that a grocery store has only one point of entry and exit is not a coincidence; this is done so that customers will need to travel through a large portion of the store in order to get back to the exits.
Although all of this has been cleverly designed to lure you into certain sections, simply knowing how and why goods are located where they are can go a long way toward helping you stay focused on your next shopping trip.
Food and Lighting Placement in Grocery Stores
Fresh food is healthy food, say our brains and bodies. Supermarkets will play into this by ensuring that the fresh fruits and vegetables section is the first thing their customers encounter. The smell of fresh produce can elevate the mood and the appetite, which urges us to put these items in our carts.
Looking up at the lighting, you will notice that it’s placed a certain distance from the food and shines at an intensity meant to make the food look bright and fresh; and that fresh water spray that you encounter in the vegetables section? This is done to provide the perception that vegetables just came from the garden.
Unfortunately, this water spray won’t cause vegetables to be any fresher; actually, this periodic spraying can accelerate the spoiling process. The next thing you know, you are back at the store to purchase fresh vegetables and fruits, produce which has also, in many cases, been engineered to be a particular color that’s more appealing to the eye.
Foiling Your Plan
Even if you have a special grocery list that your gastric sleeve diet demands you stick to, the way in which a store is designed can make this more difficult. For example, you may be at the store to purchase milk and low-fat cheese. However, you may need to walk through the bakery and bread section in order to get there.
Again, this is no mistake; it’s a tactic called “mid-aisle positioning,” and it is aimed at you and others who are determined to go into a store and buy only what they need or the foods their recent weight loss surgery demands. When combined with upbeat music, items from these aisles could make their way into your basket or cart.
Labels Can (and Do) Lie
As if the aisle placement lighting, music, and food colors weren’t enough to deceive you, there is another threat to keep an eye out for, and that is the food label. Have you ever been enticed by a box’s picture of a peaceful field in full bloom, only to look at the ingredients and see that you’ve been misled?
You’re not alone; product labels are meant to attract the eye and convince the brain that they are better for you than the other items on the shelf. However, if you really want to make sure you’re choosing the healthiest option, it’s best to look a little deeper than that attractive label.
How to Make Every Grocery Trip a Success
Once you’ve had bariatric surgery, you will gradually progress from liquid to solid food. With help from a dietitian, you can get valuable information on what you need to eat, as well as what you should no longer eat.
Because it can take a while to get used to shopping for these foods after having gastric bypass surgery in Houston, it’s best to bring the food list with you when you shop so that you can remind yourself of what to put in your cart and what to leave on the shelf. There are also many other ways to ensure you only buy the food you need and that’s healthy for you.
Make a Plan
The more you plan before you go shopping, the more likely you will be to purchase and eat healthy foods. That being said, think about what you want to eat for the next week or two. Figure out what ingredients you’ll need to make these meals and in what quantities. Bring this list with you to the grocery store.
Alternatively, you can create a grocery list on your smartphone. Or, you can check to see if your store has an app you can download. Many of these grocery apps allow you to shop more quickly by allowing you to make a list, and then organizing your needed items according to the aisle.
Following bariatric surgery, it can be very tempting to return to familiar patterns and purchase unhealthy foods. This is why it’s so important to ensure you bring a list with you. A list will be a constant reminder of your new life and the experience you’ve just been through.
The thing about supermarket psychology, as clever as it may be, is that it isn’t foolproof. Just because there may be all of these elements trying to work against you, this doesn’t mean they can’t be overcome. For example, no supermarket will place junk food in the same aisle as organic foods, as this wouldn’t make sense to customers.
The majority of junk food in the supermarket is located in one or two aisles. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about being caught off guard in this way—because all you really have to do is walk past those aisles.
Shop the Perimeter, Choose a Rainbow
If you don’t have a shopping app, a good rule when grocery shopping is to shop the perimeters of the supermarket, which typically contain fresh and healthy foods like vegetables, meat, and fruit. The fresh produce section, which is usually the first section you encounter when you enter the grocery store, should be the section in which you spend the most time.
Eat Before You Shop, and Bring Your Own Bags
If you’re already hungry when you arrive at the grocery store, you’ll be more likely to purchase more food than you need, as well as food that you shouldn’t be eating. Have a meal that’s high in lean proteins before leaving the house, as this will help give you the energy you need, but also help you to feel satiated enough to avoid those dangerous middle aisles.
You may not think that forgetting your reusable bags is a big deal; after all, you can always get as many plastic bags as you need at the checkout. Unfortunately, this, too, can cause you to pick up more than you need. However, by bringing only a certain number of reusable bags with you, you can fill that limited space with the items you need for healthy meals. It will also remind you how to grocery shop healthfully on a budget.
Read Every Label
There’s nothing wrong with admiring the pleasant picture on the front of your product. However, once you’ve done that, flip the product over and look at the nutrition facts and ingredients, particularly the sodium, fat, carbohydrate, and sugar content. You’ll also want to make note of the serving size, which will appear at the top of the ingredients.
Serving size is important because it will reveal the quantity of sugar, sodium, and other ingredients you will consume in a single serving. As well, the size of a serving may be much smaller than you’d expect. This can also help you alter your perception of portion sizes to something that is aligned with your new lifestyle.
Switch to Healthy Snacks
Those potato chips may have that satisfying crunch, but they come with an unhealthy price. Think toasted quinoa or banana or apple chips instead. It’s all about replacing those unhealthy foods with equally satisfying ones.
However, you must be vigilant about the labels with these foods as well; even healthy snacks can make untrue claims. When in doubt, you can always dry your own foods with a dehydrator for sweet and salty snacks that are worry-free.
Professional Guidance for a Healthier You
When you decide to have bariatric surgery, you are making the choice to transform your life. However, it may not be easy. That’s why Bariatric Care Centers exist; to guide patients through every step of their new journey.
The highly trained teams at Bariatric Care Centers do much more than help keep you on track; their compassionate approach recognizes the need of every patient to be treated with care, dignity, and respect. The long-lasting relationships we build with patients make us a top choice in the Houston Metro Area. Discover the benefits of working with Bariatric Care Centers today by calling 713-339-1353.
Disclaimer: This is only for general information. All patients should consult their doctors prior to following any of the recommendations in any articles, post, or video. Each patient has individual needs and limitations that only his or her treating physicians can be aware of.
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