Experts estimate that up to 40 percent of what you pick up at the grocery store is based on impulse. "Those purchases tend to be high in calories and fat, which can sabotage your healthy eating efforts," says Bonnie Taub-Dix, R.D., a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. Play the market right with these simple strategies.
Bring a grocery list
Nearly 70 percent of women who make one forget to bring it to the store. Stash your list in your purse or car, or go electronic: Make your choices on heart checkmark.org or tadalist.com, then download them to a PDA or phone.
Scan the top and bottom shelves
Many manufacturers pay supermarkets for prime shelf space to showcase their latest products. As a result, many of the healthier foods that are immune to trends aren't located at eye level. "Don't be taken in by fancy displays or packaging," says Taub-Dix. "It's important to read the nutrition panel of every item you pick up."
Don't be a slave to diet claims
A study in the Journal of Marketing Research found that people may eat up to 50 percent more calories when a food is labeled lowfat.
Use the self-checkout
Women consume up to 14,000 calories a year from candy, soda, and other snacks bought at the register, reveals new research from IHL Consulting Group, a global market-analysis firm in Franklin, Tennessee. "We found that scanning your own groceries can slash, by a third, those last-minute buys," says study author Greg Buzek.