How to Be a Savvy Low-Glycemic Shopper

7 of 10 in Series: The Essentials of Choosing Low-Glycemic Foods

Shopping for groceries when you follow a low-glycemic diet is a little different from going grocery shopping while on other types of diets. Some foods haven't been tested for their glycemic index, leaving you to make your best judgment call while shopping. Knowing what you're going to buy before you enter the grocery store and how to find the best products once you're there are the keys to having a good grocery shopping experience when you're on the hunt for low-glycemic foods.

A grocery list is the golden ticket to a relaxed grocery store trip that saves you time and money and keeps you from buying those oh-so-tempting cookies and chips. Using a grocery list helps you focus on buying low-glycemic foods and decreases impulse buys that may sabotage your weight-loss efforts.

You come up with a solid low-glycemic grocery list by planning out your meals for the week. Without a meal plan, you can end up buying foods you don't eat, having the wrong foods in the house, or purchasing something just because it sounds good in the moment. Making a low-glycemic grocery list and planning your meals each week may sound like a daunting task, but it gets easier each time because you ultimately have a running list of the foods you use on a regular basis.

When making your first low-glycemic grocery list, your goal is to determine those items that you buy regularly (your staples). Then you can simply add other ingredients to that list each week.

Use these steps to get started on your low-glycemic shopping list:

  1. Figure out your staples.

    Following are some common staples based on where you should keep them in your kitchen:

    1. Pantry: Old-fashioned or steel-cut oats, hearty stone-ground whole-wheat breads, low-glycemic cereals, pearl barley, bulgur, canned veggies (watch the sodium!), canned or dried beans, pasta, quinoa, nuts (especially walnuts and almonds), seeds, herbs, spices, vinegar, and oil

    2. Refrigerator: Eggs (especially those enriched with omega-3s), fish, lean meats, lowfat cheeses, cottage cheese, milk, lowfat plain yogurt, fruits, and veggies

    3. Freezer: Frozen berries and veggies

  2. Purchase a small notebook (something that fits in your pocket or purse) and fill in your staples on the left-hand side of several pages.

    You'll refer to your list of staples each week, so using a small notebook and filling in several pages at once helps ensure your grocery list is always on hand. Of course, you may find that you don't need to stock up on all of your staples each week, but your list still gives you a quick outline to determine what you have on hand and what you need to get.

  3. Determine any nonbasic recipes you plan to make and add any extra ingredients for that week on the right-hand side of a page.

    Although your list of staples will remain constant from week to week, the rest of your grocery list will vary depending on any special recipes and meals you're preparing.

With a list in hand, you don't need to wander the aisles wondering what to make this week or trying to remember whether certain foods are low-glycemic. You may even be surprised at how much money you save by focusing on your list and ignoring impulse-based items.

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