Here are some specific hints for defensive shopping:
* Prepare ahead. If there's one rule to follow, this is it: Don't to go to the supermarket "on the fly." We've all run out for a few things and ended up buying twice as much as we needed. Often, something in the store tempts us to do just that. For example, how many supermarkets position the bakery right where you walk in, with the wonderful smell of newly baked bread or cakes perfuming the air? It's not an accident.
* Consult your cookbooks and create a weekly menu. Write down all of the ingredients you need for it.
* Know what you are going to make, and make sure that most of what you buy fits into your overall meal plan.
* Check the fridge and pantry so you know what you don't need to buy.
* Shop weekly. Shopping too often or stretching your shopping trips to every two weeks will make sticking to your meal plan more difficult.
* Learn the store layout. The fewer tempting products you see and the less time you spend browsing, the easier it will be to avoid buying the wrong foods. The healthiest fresh foods are in areas against the store walls. Don't spend time in the central aisles with things you don't need.
* Look up and down. The most attractively packaged food is on shelves at eye level.
* Stay away from the areas where store employees are offering free samples of high-carb and fatty foods.
* Eat before you shop. A hungry shopper buys more food and makes worse food choices, plus with diabetes, you need to eat at specific times and in amounts that ensure stable blood sugar.
* Shop alone and without the kids. Although research claims that men are more likely to stick to their list only, the levels of obesity in both genders suggests otherwise. Going to the supermarket should be a directed, time-limited event. You are there to buy certain things you need; you don't have to review every single one of the store's offerings. If possible, shop for food when the kids are in school because they are special targets for marketers.
* Make healthy choices. This doesn't only mean buying fresh vegetables from local farms or good produce in the supermarket.