Wholesale club do's, don'ts

Dietitian offers rules to follow to avoid a diet disaster

By Jodi Mohrmann - Managing Editor of special projects
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Wholesale clubs and food warehouses are great places to buy large quantities of the foods you need. But buying in bulk could be the first step towards a diet disaster.

Kristin Kirkpatrick, a registered dietitian at Cleveland Clinic, says the first thing you want to make sure you do at a wholesale club or food warehouse is walk because it's one of the few places you can get some quality exercise while you shop.

"I would suggest walking every single aisle. I've done it myself at my local warehouse with a pedometer and I actually walked a mile," she said.

Kirkpatrick says the key to taking advantage of buying in bulk is baggies.  Her advice is to divide things into bags or baggies that are the appropriate serving size.

"Just because you buy in bulk doesn't mean you have to eat in bulk," Kirkpatrick said.  "So, one of the tips I always say is regardless of what you're buying, be it potato chips or peanuts, or something like that- individually package every single thing when you get home."

Kirkpatrick says you can also buy things like frozen chicken or other lean meats in bulk, make big meals, then re-freeze them for a later day. You may even be able to plan out your meals for a week, or even a month.

But Kirkpatrick says her number one rule for wholesale clubs is: Don't go there hungry.

"Have a meal ahead of time. Really, just make sure that your blood sugar isn't low because not only will you attack the samples but you'll probably buy a lot of high-calorie, high-sugar, high-fat foods simply because you're starving," she said.

Kirkpatrick says the way to work the warehouse to your advantage, without destroying your diet,  is to go in with a meal-plan and maybe do a little work when you get home.

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