What kind of “shopper” are you? Are you one of those who go to the supermarket and decide in the moment what to buy, do you have a written list, or even a rough idea of what you want in your head?

You probably already know if you don’t have a list how easy it is for a few cakes and biscuits find their way into your basket! When you haven’t planned your meals and you don’t know what you’re going to buy, you’re setting yourself an even bigger challenge to buy the right food. If you enter the shop feeling hungry or tired you’re bound to end up buying all sorts of junk which ends with an eating binge

We want to give you some serious advice and really take something out of this article so get a pen and paper and get ready…

Planning is key to ensuring your food shopping trips stay on target. Either plan weekly or monthly – give yourself some time to work out what you are going to eat over the week or so, thinking about how much time you have at home to cook and prepare meals, who you need to cook for, any special meals coming up, as well as the food you need to take with you out of the house. Think about how many times you go to a restaurant or eat at your friends house.

By being more present and conscious in your buying behaviours you can avoid those little slips that can take a few days and a lot of willpower to bring you back on track. By doing a bit of organising, we hope you don’t waste as much food, you spend a bit less (as you’re not popping out everyday other day because you’ve forgotten something!) and you feel confident knowing what you need to buy when you enter the shop – if you stick to your list you are more likely to stick to your diet goals!

Write down what you are going to eat over the next week now…

Over the next 4 blogs we’re going to examine the cornerstones of good supermarket shop planning:

First up – it’s looking at the places you go to buy and how you act when you’re buying:

Buying food can be an emotional battle. Nearly all shops are set up these days to force you into purchasing more. From exciting displays to ‘3 for 2’ offers on your favourite products – bare in mind retailer’s invest millions into ‘buyer behaviours’ to make you purchase more. This is a battle and you have to be prepared to walk away from.

Think about how many healthy products are surrounded by unhealthy ones. Frozen peas are next to ice cream. Fresh chicken is next to the sausages and breaded meat. Wheetabix is next to other sugary cereal. And the tills are surrounded by tempting chocolate bars and other snacks.

It is very simple advice, but try to avoid the isles that are all temptation. Normally all the biscuits are in one place – just don’t go there! – if you don’t see it, it’s easier not pick it up!

If you’re struggling with the huge amount of different choices, then don’t go to the large supermarkets and support your local greengrocers and butchers. The junk isn’t on offer and you won’t fall for those self-justifications – like buying something “just in case”, or telling yourself “it’s for the children”, or it’s too good an offer to turn down.

In Norwich we are spoilt for choice when it comes to independent shops selling local produce. Go to the famous Norwich market and you’ll find amazing fresh fruit and veg from ‘Mike & Debs & Sons’ on the front facing Gentleman’s Walk, close by to a large selection of quality fish at ‘City Fish’ on the corner of the market, and head into the market to Row E to find ‘Paul’s Family Butchers’ selling local outdoor reared meats.

Alternatively have a box of fresh fruit and veg delivered from ‘Norwich Farmshare’, ‘Arthur’s Organics’ and ‘Easters’. Or drive up to Plumbstead road for some quality meat from ‘Archer’s butchers’ or some delicious fresh fish from ‘Howard & Sons’ from the city end of Magdalen Street.

In general, you shouldn’t have any problems doing your food shop if you have good willpower, if you are determined in our goals and plans and if you are someone with deep-rooted healthy habits. In addition to this, to buy what you need, it is important to enter the shop without feeling hungry, without anxiety and with the shopping list made so as not to improvise and fall into temptation.

If you want a little help in deciding a food plan for the week, then why not get in touch with EMS Fitness? We are happy to help you create a meal plan and a shopping list to steer you in the right direction.

Our trainers