Have you ever arrived home from the grocery store, unpacked all your goods and thought “what the heck happened”?! Odds are you shopped hungry. No judgement, it’s happened to us all!
I recently placed a grocery pick up order online, picked it up a few hours later, unpacked it and thought “it could not be more obvious that I was starving (and had major PMS I might add) when I placed this order”. I ended up with wayyyyy more food than I actually needed and a ton of options I wouldn’t usually go for that had little to no nutrient value.
Now, don’t get me wrong, we’re all about having some sweet treats in the house and eating a wide variety of foods, but sometimes you can go too far. That day I definitely did! Luckily, because we all know I’m a snack hoarder :), I had a snack on my drive home from picking the order up so I was able to avoid tearing into the very random mix of items while I was putting them away.
When you shop hungry, everyyyything starts to look tasty. Your body is screaming “FEED ME” and those higher calorie items tend to be the ones that look most satisfying. This is a pretty simple concept really. Fat and sugar can quite literally make our brains happy by triggering the release of serotonin, a chemical in our bodies that contributes to our feeling of happiness and well-being. Think about your favorite comfort foods. The ones you may be tempted to reach for when you’ve had a rough day. Most likely, they are higher in fat, carbohydrates, and/or sugar.
Of course, the best strategy to avoid becoming a hangry (hungry + angry) shopper is to have a snack beforehand. I always recommend keeping a good snack choice stashed in your purse, car, or gym bag in case you find yourself in such a situation. Nuts, low sodium jerky, or a bar that packs a good punch of protein are my go-to options to keep stashed.
So.. now you know what you should do to avoid the hangry shopping scenario, but odds are, you’ll most likely find yourself in that situation again at some point. How do you navigate that?
Make a List - Shopping with a well thought out list is your best option, but if you’ve forgotten your list at home, or just didn’t get around to making one, take the time to make a quick “hit list” before your walk into the store. This list should house the essentials you can’t leave the store without. Avoid adding broad categories to your list like “sweet treat” or “ice cream” - those can put you in dangerous territory if you find yourself staring at 25 different kinds of cookies or pints of ice cream with a rumbling tummy!
Lug it Around - Instead of opting for a cart that will hold more, grab a hand-held basket or take in your own reusable bag. If you’re having to carry around everything you’re planning to purchase, you’re more likely to leave with less than you would if you had an entire cart full of open space. After all, your arms and/or those tiny baskets can only hold so much!
Occupy Your Mind - Pop in your headphones (just one bud to maintain some situational awareness) and turn on your favorite music or podcast (Simply Fed Nutrition has one if you’re in the market for a new fave) and listen while you grab the items on your list. This helps occupy your mind a bit to avoid wandering thoughts and tempting items.
Pre-Order - If you’ve made a list ahead of time, pre-ordering your groceries, whether for pick-up or delivery, can save you time, money, and the hassle of shopping hungry! If all you have to do is drive through and have someone place your order in your car, it cuts out a ton of temptation and frustration. Just make sure you avoid clicking hungry, stick to your list, and don’t go rogue like I did :)