Diets are hard. If they were easy, we wouldn’t have to keep doing them! We’re all guilty of failing to stick to our diets or even cheating a little. So, the more tools we have to keep us on the straight and narrow the better. But these tools needn’t be complicated. Making a simple healthy grocery list using pen and paper or even a grocery list app, can really help. As an added plus, it can help you save money, too.
#1 Help With Portion Control
Merely eating healthy food is not enough. Even eating too much healthy food can be unhealthy: it’s still calories. Plus, on some particular diets, such as paleo, you do also need to watch things like protein and carb intake, as well as making sure you’re keeping your saturated fat consumption down. Even if you’re not on a particular diet and just want to control your eating, a healthy grocery list can really help.
You can add notes to the items to make sure you stick to buying only the amounts you need.
Yes, buying in bulk does seem like the cheaper option. But the problem is, if there’s more food in the house, you’re more likely to use or eat it. This is especially true of snacks. Even if you have exceptional self-restraint. The temptation is still there.
But this doesn’t mean your shopping will be more expensive. In fact, with perishable goods, it can be the opposite. If you bought 10 onions for $5, but only end up using 4 and throwing out 6, in reality, you’ve spent $2.50 per onion. But, buying 4 onions for $4 means you’re spending only $1 per onion.
So, buying as precisely as much as you need will make sure you’re not eating any extra or making bigger portions. You will end up spending less and creating less food waste, too.
#2 It Will Help You Resist Temptation at the Supermarket
If you’re trying to give up something you love but is bad for you, the cravings can sometimes be insatiable. What makes it worse is having to pass by the very aisles you should be avoiding. You might even have to walk down them to get to where you want to be.
If you have a grocery list in your hand, you can help keep your focus and avoid giving into temptation. Buy only what’s on your list and you can’t go wrong. If you shop without one, it only increases the chances of cheekily popping those unwanted or forbidden food items into your cart.
You might also want to put a “Do Not Buy” section on your grocery list to remind you what you’re supposed to be steering clear of, and also to encourage you to stick to your diet.
We won’t lie. Eliminating anything you like from your diet is tough. But if you stick at being good, the cravings will lessen and you’ll start to wonder why you ever craved such food in the first place.
#3 Avoid Getting Caught By Sneaky Supermarket Tricks
Grocery stores may pretend to be your friend, but in truth, their out to get as much money from you as they can. They actually employ an arsenal of sneaky psychological tricks to make you buy stuff you neither want or need. Indeed, psychologist Paco Underhill found that up to 50% of our carts are made up on unplanned purchases because of these.
Much like keeping your portion sizes down and helping you avoid those temptations, sticking diligently to your shopping list will really help you buy only by what you need, and not succumb to those tantalizing offers. The biggest benefit here is that it will really help you save money. This is because you will be putting fewer unnecessary goods into your trolley.
#4 Help You Maintain a Good State of Mind
Diets can be stressful. In many cases, being successful at a diet is as much about your mentality as it is your physicality.
As well as being practical, shopping lists also have some surprising positive mental benefits. They can help you focus better on other tasks after planning and/or completing your shop. Completing items on your shopping list also makes your brain release dopamine, the chemical that makes you feel good.
If you feel better mentally, you’re going to be more motivated to stick to your diet. So there’s no reason to not make a shopping list!
If you’re starting a diet, or simply wanting to be a bit healthier when you shop, then one of the first things you should do is definitely make a grocery list! With dietary, monetary, and mental benefits abound, it’s surprising that something so humble and unassuming as a shopping list can be an incredibly potent tool to help you with your health.