Do Your Grocery Shopping At This Time Of Day To Improve Your Health

While some of us follow a carefully-planned system when it comes to grocery shopping — like visit the supermarket every Sunday rain or shine — others are a little more flexible. We run to the store whenever we see the pantry cupboards looking a bit sparse. 

Either way, you may have heard of the best times to shop to avoid crowds — early mornings or late evenings (via Real Simple) — and what day of the week you'd get the freshest produce (spoiler alert: it's Wednesday, per Taste of Home). But, did you know that there's an optimum time to visit the grocery store that will also improve your health? 

Late morning is the recommendation by Self, more specifically 10 a.m., and there's a reason for this. When you go grocery shopping a few hours after breakfast, you're still sufficiently satiated from your morning meal, so there's less chance of you reaching for unhealthy food items while perusing the aisles. Another reason why this time should be added to the ultimate guide to healthy grocery shopping has to do with your blood sugar levels. 

You'll avoid food cravings and overeating

If too much time passes between your last meal and the task of grocery shopping, you're essentially setting yourself up for failure in the overeating department, according to registered dietitian Jaclyn London (via Good Housekeeping). "Not only are you susceptible to overspending, but you're also more likely to overeat what you do bring home," she writes. 

Also, as registered dietician nutritionist Gaby Vaca-Flores explained to HUM Nutrition, there's a direct link between low blood sugar levels and food cravings. While your blood sugar is lowest before breakfast, it fluctuates throughout the day, per Medical News Today. Generally, soon after you eat, it takes about an hour or so for the glucose levels to stabilize, which means that provided you have your breakfast by 8 or 9 a.m., 10 a.m. is the perfect time blood sugar levels-wise, and therefore the best time to head to the supermarket.

"When blood sugar drops, it's a sign that we're well past being hangry. As a result, we're more likely to overeat and crave large quantities of carb-rich, calorie-dense foods," explained Vaca-Flores. 

What are some of the other grocery shopping mistakes you're making?

If your health is a priority, you may also want to plan out what you want to get at the store, according to the experts. And yes we mean lists, physical ones, or ones on your phone. 

Jaclyn London (via Good Housekeeping) equates going grocery shopping unprepared to "walking into the SATs without studying." Not only will your entire trip be more stressful because you can't, for the life of you, remember what you thought of getting right before you walked out the door, but you'll also be prone to buying things you don't necessarily need, like unhealthy treats. This is bad for your health (and your wallet). London also recommends filling your cart with all things healthy and good — whole grains, fresh vegetables and fruits, etc. — before making your way to the snacks and treats aisle. "Then, the chips, cookies, crackers, cakes, and soda that line the inner aisles have less room to squeeze into," explained the registered dietician. 

In addition to these tips, there are also potential safety concerns, like putting meat in with your vegetables or taking meat items out too early from the refrigerator and not prepping them in a cooler for the long drive back home, which fall under common grocery shopping mistakes that could make you sick. Grocery shopping is an art. A little mindfulness and planning can go a long way if you want to improve your health.