woman grocery shopping for apples

But First, Your Hunger is Being Hijacked!

Let me ask you two important questions before we get into the Golden Rules.

1. Have you ever noticed that some of the most popular fast-food chains use the color red for their logos? It’s not a coincidence. Many restaurant brands and designs revolve around this hunger-stimulating color to get you to eat more of their food. Go ahead. Google good ol’ McD’s, KFC, Wendy’s, Checkers, Bojangles… the list goes on.

corn flakes cereal box design
Hunger-inducing packaging for generic corn flakes

2. Have you ever been in the cereal aisle of the grocery store? Of course, you have! (I grew up on Froot Loops and Lucky Charms.) You may notice bright colors (ahem, red!), cartoon characters, and oversized product photography to get your attention. The boxes are screaming “Buy me! Buy me!”

That’s product packaging. That’s what it’s supposed to do.

But that vibrant, sunny, warm, berry-filled and scrumptious looking box of corn flakes above contains nothing more than this…

lonely bag of corn flakes

Womp womp.

You think, “Wait a minute! You mean this cereal isn’t going to make the sun shine and the grass grow? It’s not filled with fresh berries? It’s not going to make the milk cascade beautifully out of my bowl like a mermaid leaping out of the ocean?!”

Nope. You’re being manipulated. Your hunger is being hijacked!

We Are Naturally Attracted to Colorful Foods

We are hard-wired to be attracted to colorful food. On a subconscious level, we know that colors in food = nutrients in food.

For example, dark-hued fruits like blueberries, are generally high in antioxidants. But we don’t actually think of that as we’re eating them. Unless you’re a nutritionist like me. We just think of the positive feelings we get when we eat sweet blueberries.

But think about it. Where else do you see edible foodstuff in the world? Untouched by advertisers, preservatives, and packaging?

Mother Nature, of course! All the colorful foods we truly crave come directly from the ground, vine, or tree in the form of fruits and vegetables!

Naturally vibrant colors of fruits and vegetables

Let me be clear, I’m not Vegan or even Vegetarian. However, 90% of my diet consists of plants and my body loves me for it. The body truly craves nutrient-dense REAL foods!

Now I share with you my Golden Rules for grocery shopping to make sure you get the food that your body really needs, without any trickery.

1. Make a List Beforehand… and Stick to It!

Curb impulse buying with a shopping list. Tell yourself, “I’m only going to buy what’s on my list. Nothing more, nothing less.”

Whole food staples should always be on your list. Why? If you buy good food, then you’ll eat good food. Simple as that. When hunger strikes, you want to make sure you have healthy and satisfying options to choose from.

Items frequently on my list: cucumber, baby spinach and other dark leafy greens, red onion, red cabbage, frozen berries, frozen mango, quinoa, black beans, and chickpeas.

2. Shop AFTER You’ve Eaten a Meal

Hunger can make us do things out of the ordinary and make poor food shopping decisions.

It’s like going to a buffet dinner and overloading your plate. Your eyes are bigger than your stomach, and your stomach seems to be doing all the shopping! I’ve purchased things on an empty stomach that later had me wondering, “What in the world was I thinking?!”

Eat, then shop.

3. Shop the Perimeter of the Store

Never considered this before? Around the perimeter, you’ll generally find items that require refrigeration or freezing or have a short shelf life that needs to be bought fresh. Think produce, freshly baked goods, seafood, eggs, dairy, and plant-based milk. Frozen fruits, vegetables, and whole-grains are also found around the perimeter.

Stick to the outside and maybe wear a light jacket so you don’t catch a chill.

Go Forth, Shop, and Eat Well!

The truth is that we are hard-wired to be attracted to colorful food. The key is to get the colors you crave directly from fresh fruits and veggies… not from a cardboard box trying to imitate nature’s creations.

Next time you hit up the grocery store, consider standing in the produce section a little while longer to admire all the wonderfully vibrant food that Mother Nature gives us. Enjoy all the positive feels!