10 Rules for Grocery Shopping When You’re Hungry

published Mar 18, 2015
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(Image credit: dmmd303)

We all know the axiom for sane, rational grocery shopping: Don’t go to the store when you’re hungry. Research supports this sage and ancient advice: this study found that people bought more high-calorie food when grocery-shopping hungry.

However! That’s the ideal. Life often works out otherwise. How often have you hit the grocery store for a dinner run, ravenous after a long day, and come out dazed and clutching two extra bags of cookies and fixings for nachos? Uh-huh. Us too. So let’s talk strategy — hangry strategy.

(Image credit: via Giphy)

It’s just reality that we have to grocery shop hungry from time to time, so I polled our editors for their strategies on making it out of the grocery store without knocking over the chip aisle!

1. Promise yourself a snack. A healthy snack.

This is what I do. Before I even go in the store I think of something nice to eat — a fancy granola bar, a cup of berries — and I promise that to myself as my reward upon quickly finishing the shopping.

2. Better yet, buy yourself a snack. A healthy snack.

But if you have time to run through the checkout line just get yourself a snack right away.

3. Make a quick and dirty list.

Even worse than shopping hungry is shopping hungry without a list. Disaster. Make yourself a quick and dirty list — even if it’s just mental one.

4. Use a basket, not a cart.

As Christine said, “Only carry a hand-basket so things get heavy and you have to hustle.”

5. Put in your headphones.

As Anjali mentioned in this post, keeping a brisk beat in your ears helps get you in and out of the grocery store instead of browsing (and grazing).

DANGER ZONE. (Image credit: Larry)

6. Visualize just one meal.

A last-minute dinner run isn’t the time to do all your grocery shopping for the week, so stay modest in your ambitions. Don’t try to shop for the whole week. Visualize your dinner for tonight and stick to it.

7. Decide you will check out of the under-15-items line.

Don’t cheat! Your fellow shoppers hate a cheater.

8. Play the grocery store drinking game.

If you have your water bottle with you, Cambria suggests playing the “I’m hungry and I’m shopping,” drinking game — every time you see something unnecessary that you want to buy, drink a sip of water! (Not as fun as a real drinking game, but oh well.)

9. Avoid the danger zones.

Don’t walk by the in-store bakery. You will buy everything.

10. Be prepared!

Last but not least, it never hurts to be prepared for next time you go to the store raging hungry. Put a snack bar in your bag, or a packet of almonds. You never know when you may be called upon to shop hungry.

What did we miss? Any other strategies for safely shopping while your tummy is growling?