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The Danger of Shopping When You’re Hungry

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5 BIG Food Mistakes (and how to avoid them)

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by Wendy Goldman in Healthy Eating, Weight Loss

Of course I know better, but I did it anyway. I went shopping hungry. And not just to a grocery store, but to Costco!

Yup. I just heard your groan of horror/ sympathy/ agreement because you’ve done it too. I went to buy supplies for the office: a case of paper towels, cups for the water cooler, that sort of thing. The plan was for it to be a quick trip and then I’d get lunch. I got my office supplies and thought I was safe. But nooooo….. I made the mistake of going down the snack aisle. And there they were, the salty, crunchy (Costco-sized giant tub of) pub snacks.

We’ve all done this. We go food shopping when we’re hungry, and it seems like our stomach takes over, our brain goes on vacation, and common sense goes out the window. We think “I’ll get something good to eat as soon as I get home”. But nope, the stomach was in charge, not our brain.

We watch the food go by on the conveyor belt at the checkout and see exactly what we put in our basket. And then maybe realize that we didn’t make the best choices. And instead of saying wait a minute, and taking the junk food out of our purchase and asking it to be put back, (which would be embarrassing) we just go ahead and buy it anyway.

Which was exactly what I did. Then I got home and unpacked the snacks, thinking, “what the hell did I just buy?”

And of course I was still hungry, which meant my stomach was in charge, not my brain, and the giant tub of snacks was sitting right there, and I was hungry… You know what happened next.

We all do this, obviously even me sometimes. Of course it’s best to avoid going shopping hungry. It’s best to eat first, then shop, when the loud-mouthed, controlling stomach is full and happy and quiet.

How to avoid this trap:

– plan your grocery shopping in advance, and make sure you’ve eaten and aren’t hungry when you go to the store.

– if you have to run errands to a big-box store, or one that holds dangerous temptations like Costco, make sure you’ve eaten. You could also shop with someone else as a safe-guard against buying unhealthy food. Just make sure your shopping companion will help you be strong, rather than enable or encourage unhealthy choices.

– before you get to the checkout, stop and look at all of the items in your cart or basket. If you see a bunch of unhealthy choices, you can take them out and put them back before you get to the checkout counter, so no embarrassment or buying bad stuff anyway. This one tiny little pause in the usual automatic shopping process can make a big difference.

– if you’re in Costco, don’t even go down the junk food, snack, candy aisle. 😉

Now that I’ve eaten most of the tub of those darned snacks, I grossed myself out, and will hopefully never buy them again! And the worst part? The Costco I went to was in an area with some of my favorite Chinese restaurants!

We all make stupid decisions sometimes. Hopefully, not too often! Use it as a reminder to get back on track and make better choices now and going forward.

Here’s hoping you make healthier choices this week than I did last week! 🙂

Talk to you soon,


{The founder of Eat Right Forever, who fortunately, rarely makes these stupid food decisions that prove she’s human after all. }

FREE Food Mistakes Guide

5 BIG Food Mistakes (and how to avoid them)

Get It Now!