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Diet Tip: Shop the Perimeter

Location is everything in the grocery store. Food placement aisle by aisle, shelf by shelf, has been studied to almost a science. Have you ever noticed that when you need to run into the grocery to pick up just a gallon of milk or some eggs you have to walk through the entire store, past cookies, chips, and soda pop just to reach the dairy aisle.

Yep, the layout of the products is literally designed to test your willpower. So my tip to you is when you visit the grocery for a full shopping excursion SHOP the PERIMETER of the store. This is where you will find all your essentials: produce, meat, dairy and eggs. If you must venture into a center aisle for some Dijon mustard (say you are making your own low fat salad dressing), stay focused. Select what you need and move on. Don't be tempted by sale items like donuts placed strategically next to the whole grain breads, or the two-for-one super sized bags of Doritos next to the spelt pretzels (which are truly high in fiber!!!).

Fit's Tip: I know this seems obvious, but don't go to grocery store without a list. If you have a list and don't stray from it, chances are slim of coming home with a food item you really don't need.

Join The Conversation
pinkdragonfly pinkdragonfly 9 years
I'm a list-maker...I come home with the most random stuff if I don't make a list beforehand!!
minnie minnie 10 years
I actually learned this in my marketing class. I always bring a list and stick pretty closely to it.
AlliJean AlliJean 10 years
I've heard this before and I really believe in it. Staying on the outside keeps you shopping fresh foods with less sodium and preservatives. And I completely agree with redsugar on shopping carts! I try to skip using a cart and just grab a basket so I'm less tempted.
SU3 SU3 10 years
I always follow by this because it's SO true!
AucuneRancune AucuneRancune 10 years
good tip! But the ice cream section will get me every time.
Neural Neural 10 years
I've heard this before.
Munin Munin 10 years
There are some staples, particularly for baking, that are found in the aisles, such as flour, sugar, and various oils. Other healthy snacks and ingredients that are found within the aisles are tuna, beans, noodles, oatmeal, and granola. The perimeter rule doesn't always seem to work when it comes to frozen food. In the frozen food section where I shop the ice cream and other frozen treats are on the outside, along the perimeter. It would be much easier if the frozen vegetables were here as well! jhuck is right in that you will often see less healthy things on aisle end caps within easy reach of customers "shopping the perimeter". Having a grocery list of will not only help you eat healthy but can help keep you within your grocery budget. This is the benefit of shopping wisely!
jhuck jhuck 10 years
I think the stores around here figured this trick out because they now have all the yummy bad food along the outside.
amandaaa amandaaa 10 years
heard this one before and it's a good tip! all the nutritious food is outside and the processed is on the inside...and when you go inside, the shelves are arranged in a certain order as well! companies pay top dollar to put their products at eye-level so those who don't shop around for price or calories will grab what they see. look up and down and all around!!
lucyharrison lucyharrison 10 years
If I haven't got a list I'm screwed! I've been using Gillian McKeiths Shopping Guide List which seems to work really well, and keeps me in the healthy isles! She helped me a lot with what to buy when I joined her diet club - it has a weekly mealplan and shopping list you can print off each week. Too easy! has all the details - it's pretty cool.
ALSW ALSW 10 years
I always bring a list! I can't remember everything specifically without. And I TRY and stay with it...:)
redsugar redsugar 10 years
I recently heard that the size of shopping carts have gotten MUCH larger so we subconsciously buy more to fill the cart. Sneaky bastards.
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