Proper nutrition is certainly one of the 4 pillars of healthy development. You may be aware of it too but, at the same time, you have a hard time actually adopting healthy eating habits. In this sense, a tricky area is often expense .
It is, in fact, starting from shopping that you can make those conscious choices that allow you to nourish yourself correctly.
The supermarket is also a social experience. The arrival of these huge barracks overflowing with products represented an important chapter from a social point of view, in behavior, becoming a fundamental pillar of the Western consumerist lifestyle.
It’s easy to see why the supermarket can set you traps by inducing you to buy products. The same arrangement on the shelves is all geared towards making you buy impulsively rather than making conscious choices. Today we go shopping once a week or twice a month. The model is that of filling the cart, with the result of buying many products in excess that then exceed the expiration date.
There was also the habit of making a shopping list, filling out slips by hand that took into account what was missing. Today, with the excuse of the smartphone always in hand, it is possible to take notes, but laziness prevails in spite of the need.
What does this attitude entail?
- By shopping straight away at the supermarket on the basis of what is on the counters, on display, you buy more products that are easy to eat and foods rich in sugars and saturated fats. Thereby adversely affecting one’s health.
- Buying on the full cart model, you spend a lot more money than you need.
How the supermarket conditions you to buy badly
The social psychology of the American school, the world leader in the analysis of consumer behavior, has analyzed shopping habits over the last century.
What might seem to you a random placement of products is actually the result of decades of scientifically proven experiences, which have the sole purpose of inducing the consumer to buy certain products and in greater quantities. Even and especially when they are not needed. In fact, shopping at the supermarket does not rely on need or necessity, but rather on the desire to possess.
It is for this reason that basic necessities are almost always found at the bottom or are never highlighted: water, eggs, milk. The consumer would buy them anyway.
A study has shown that in the supermarket, after 30 minutes on the shelves, the consumer stops making rational purchases to indulge in emotional responses. In practice, instead of leaving after making sure you have what you need, which you look for and put in the cart first, you are left to buy goods that you don’t need, but are more.
The arrangement of the products is then made in such a way as to reward the more expensive ones, usually placed halfway up on the shelves, while at the bottom, practically on the floor, there are the less expensive products. The former are therefore in eye contact and easy to take, the latter are almost hidden and require an effort to grasp them.
The arrangement of food follows this principle, with the difference that the alleged virtues of some foods (0 fat, 0 sugar) are made to pay more.
How not to get fooled and buy well
How can we extricate ourselves in this world where food is considered a commodity and therefore follows the rules of the market and profit rather than public health , and where does marketing orient and influence the consumer’s choices far beyond the content and quality of a product? How do we know what is really in what we buy and eat, and to better orient our purchases? How can we defend and protect ourselves, if we cannot trust what the advertising or the labels tell us, often incomplete because there are no laws that oblige producers to declare certain information on the label?
- The first tip is to make the list and make it by hand and stick to it . By making the list you will go and buy what you need, instead of being guided by the suggestions of the shelves. Before filling out the list, see what you are missing or need.
- Never go shopping when you are fam and, therefore, around lunchtime or dinner time. The supermarket exploits this element of weakness to snatch the purchase of expensive and unhealthy snacks, carbonated drinks and snacks of all kinds.
- Generally, you shop on the first day off of the weekend, for example on Friday evening or Saturday morning or the next day. It’s normal: but the supermarket “ knows ” and tries to feed you offers of all kinds with flyers and TV commercials. The weekend is also a period of sport, perfect for relaxing on the sofa and eating junk food.
- Don’t rely on packaging . Underlying these are studies that lead you to choose one product over another. For example, the term “wholemeal” is also used for products that are not wholly wholemeal; just as the attribute of “light” is given to foods low in fat but rich instead of sugar.
- Read the labels instead: the ingredients and contents are unfortunately printed in small print, but in some supermarket chains you can find magnifying glasses.
- Eat the least processed food possible . The famous motto “less is more” is also perfectly suited to the world of nutrition. In fact, the less processed a food is, and therefore the closer it is to its natural state, the more it keeps its nutrients intact .
- Avoid additives . Reading the labels carefully also helps to know how many and which additives are contained in the products. food additives are a wide class of natural or synthetic substances that are added to foods to prolong their shelf life or to improve their organoleptic characteristics or simply to enhance their taste. Some of these additives are unhealthy such as high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats and sweeteners.
- Avoid “functional” ingredients . Functional foods are foods that contain higher concentrations of nutrients with proven beneficial properties, such as cruciferous or green tea. Sometimes, however, certain artificial processed foods are sold for “functional” and therefore for healthy, but we must not be deceived. In fact, it does not mean that packaged candies, snacks or biscuits to which vitamins or mineral salts are added are absolutely healthy because in any case they will contain an excessive load of sugars as well as, perhaps, various additives (to say: a mint candy does not have the properties mint).
- Don’t buy junk food offered in industrial quantities. Often the offers are in quantity: the cost of beer for an entire case of cans or bottles seems convenient, until you realize that having more at home you will consume more, spending at least the same amount pre-offer.
- Do not stock easily perishable foods that you plan to consume within an acceptable amount of time. This is because you still need to have a healthy and healthy diet, based on the variation of foods. Waste is fought with an approach based on well-being.
- Avoid buying the products I have listed in this in-depth article: the foods you should never eat.
Learning takes time, patience, attention, but it pays off in terms of personal and family health. In addition, in this way we will make an important contribution to change the world around us because a more attentive and aware consumer will gradually but inexorably divert the offer towards healthier products. Focus on healthy foods: their strength lies not only in taste and balance, but also in the fact that they contribute to strengthening your body, protecting you from diseases related to an unhealthy lifestyle.