Study: Shopping Hungry? Shopping Unhealthy

If you’re stomach is rumbling with hunger a new study now gives you a solid reason to put off that grocery trip, suggesting you might buy the same amount of food but you’ll come away with more unhealthy items.iStock_000016308603_ExtraSmall

The study was published this week in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Research already suggests that hunger can affect food purchases, but study researchers wanted to see what happens to the types of foods people buy after skipping a meal or other short-term fasts.

The researchers delved into our shopping habits with two tests: One in a laboratory and the other a supermarket. In the lab study, 68 participants of all ages were asked not to eat for five hours before they went to the session. Half of the participants in the sessions could eat as many crackers as they wanted until they no longer were hungry. The other half remained hungry. All the participants were then asked to shop in an online grocery store. Continue reading


Finding Healthy Convenience Foods on a Budget

There’s been a lot of press lately on the cost of foods after a USDA report found that healthier foods are not necessarily more expensive.

But one reason people turn to less healthy options is because often, they are just more convenient. Take the time to make your own popcorn and you’ll get whole grain goodness with only 31 calories; microwaving a pre-packed bag saves time but runs about 85 calories. Cooking up brown rice, spices and veggies doesn’t cost that much, but sometimes it’s a lot easier to grab the box. Those packaged, boxed meals or convenience foods are…convenient. They are also typically heavy on the calories, sodium, and fat.

But they don’t have to be. There are ways you can get all the convenience of those packaged foods, save money, and eat a cancer-protective diet. In my last blog I wrote about a study to promote healthy purchasing in a low-income area of Baltimore. Here are some budget-friendly tips we used:

1.     Snack seasonally.

Rather than grabbing chips or cookies, take a piece of fruit or a vegetable that you can have on the go. The cost of fresh fruits and vegetables changes with the time of year, and when they are in season you can buy them for a lot less money (and help support local farmers, too!). Peaches are in peak season right now, and packed with vitamin C. Continue reading


Grocery Shopping Woes? Four Tips for A Healthier Cart

Making changes towards a healthier diet is not easy. And for those living in low-income areas, healthy eating may be particularly challenging.

For the last five months, I’ve been working with researchers at Johns Hopkins University looking to improve the way consumers purchase food at a supermarket in a low-income neighborhood in Baltimore. Our study seeks to promote healthy purchasing based on findings from focus groups and interviews in the community.

Although many people seem set on their eating patterns, surprisingly, we found that many shoppers want to buy healthy foods for their families. However, they face many constraints that lead them to purchase more unhealthy foods and fewer nutritious foods than they would prefer. Continue reading