Because healthy eating starts with healthy supermarket runs…
Healthy eating starts at the supermarket. After all, it’s much easier to stick to a diet when your kitchen is stocked with good options. But it can be hard to resist filling your cart with cookies, chips and candies, especially when grocery stores are designed to make you buy and eat! more. So how can you stay on track? You probably already know that you should avoid the supermarket when you’re hungry, Grab a cart! Here’s how to load your cabinets, refrigerator and freezer with the best choices your grocery store has to offer. After you return home to unload, you’ll be just one step away from weight loss and good health.
1. SUPERMARKET MAP: Most grocery stores have a standard layout: produce, meat, and refrigerated foods along the outside walls, and packaged goods in the center aisles. Stay on the perimeter of the building, you get your fresh fruits and veggies, your grains, nuts and milk, and all the protein your heart desires.
2. GO WITH A LIST: Not only will this keep you from throwing unnecessary items into your cart, but it’ll also help you plan meals for the week and stay organized, especially if you divide the grocery list up by where you’ll find each item.
3. THE FEWER INGREDIENTS THE BETTER: If you apply that general concept to grocery shopping, you’re automatically starting at a healthier place due to overall elimination of the added sugars, fats, and preservatives and focusing on the most wholesome version of the food.
4. READ LABELS & CHECK THE INGREDIENTS CLOSELY: Ignore the doubtful claims on the front of the box, words like “low-fat” and “natural” can be misleading and focus on reading nutrition labels instead. Look at ingredients, total carbs, sugar, fiber, protein, and serving size and especially the shady ones, like really does anyone eat just 10 chips in a sitting? Anyway, if they must convince you they’re healthy, they’re probably not!
5. STOCK UP ON HEALTHY SNACKS: Yep, I can’t live without snacking! I make sure to always have healthy options around. That way, I won’t have to worry about accidentally demolishing the entire kitchen when a snack attack strikes.
6. GIVE THE FREEZER SECTION A CHANCE: Frozen fruits & veggies can be just as nutritious as fresh since it can often take days between when the vegetables are harvested and when they end up on your plate. On the other hand, what you find in the freezer is frozen immediately, which helps lock in the nutrients.
7. BUY A FEW HEALTHY FOODS IN BULK: Whether this means a huge tub of Greek yogurt for the week or a big bag of quinoa, lentils, and almonds to last you a few months, your wallet will thank you. Plus, now you’ll never be hunting for dinner food because plan B will always be hidden in your pantry.
8. BUY CUT-UP FRUIT: I find that it makes me more likely to eat produce throughout the day.
9. STOCKING UP ON LOW-FAT, HIGH-FIBER HEALTHY FOODS ARE KEY TO ANY WEIGHT LOSS PLANS: When nutrient-rich food is easily accessible, you’re likely to actually use what’s on hand to create meals, and to nosh on healthy foods too. If you don’t keep chips in your cupboard, you’ll probably reach for the whole-grain crackers and natural peanut butter instead.
10. WHOLE GRAINS AISLE (BREADS, CEREALS AND GRAINS): When you swap for healthy whole grains you get more: fiber, folic acid, magnesium, vitamins,…. These all help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and keep you full for long. Become an avid label-reader to make sure you’re getting healthy whole grains (just because bread is brown doesn’t make it whole grain). The product is whole grain if the first ingredient is whole grain, whole wheat, bran, or rye (plain wheat flour is not whole grain). Option for breads with 2 or more grams of fiber per slice (and for slices that range from 70-90 calories). Try brown rice, quinoa, bulgur, barley, rolled oats, they might have little extra calories, but they are loaded with fibers that will keep you full for a long time.
11. PRODUCE AISLE: There are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of phytochemicals found in fruits and vegetables, all of which help prevent cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Research has shown that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help manage your weight. Now you know why I swap my pasta with veggies, and it does taste much better!
12. FISH, MEAT & POULTRY AISLE: Many varieties of fish are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, a type of fat reduces blood levels of a very-low-density lipoprotein associated with heart disease, and promotes healing of arterial walls. The types with the most omega-3’s include the rich, oily, dark-fleshed fish, such as salmon, sardines, tuna. Splurge on shrimp. This high-protein, low-fat, low-calorie option feels decadent. Try to eat fish minimum 3 times a week.
As for the meat, shoot for 95% lean or higher. If it’s only 90 percent lean, a 100g portion of meat would still have 10g of fat per serving, not exactly low-fat.
When buying poultry, choose breast (whole or ground) only.
13. NUTS, SEEDS, OILS AISLE: Nuts and seeds are rich in monounsaturated fat, the same fat found in olive oil that helps raise our Good cholesterol (HDL) levels without raising our bad cholesterol (LDL) levels.
14. DAIRY AISLE: Cheese is way too easy to overeat if you’re faced with a big hunk of it. If there’s a block you love, take it to the deli and ask them to slice it into 50g portion. Otherwise, look for string cheese.
15. CONDIMENTS AISLE: You’re going to need these spices and condiments to prepare the related meals. So, put them on your healthy grocery list too.
16. ORDER ONLINE: The easiest way to resist the temptation of displays, tasty bakery smells, and candy aisles. Just skip the store altogether. Many stores offer the option to order online and pick up in-store or have your items delivered.
Now, for weight loss, what’s ultimately going to matter is how many calories you’re eating on a regular basis. I was successful with losing the weight, because I picked the right food that filled me up, and that helped in some way to consistently eat fewer calories.
I don’t know about you, but I find this information to be freeing. Reason being, it’s abundantly clear that eating whole, nutritious foods most of the time is important for both your physical and mental health.
that doesn’t mean you can NOT have “less nutritious” foods on occasion. It all comes down to moderation, balance, and most importantly, making sure you enjoy the foods you’re eating.
In my next post, I will be sharing some tips and tools that helped me in making a body transformation and boost my health. Keep your eyes on the blog :).
*Here’s the food list that kept me sane during my weight loss journey. Enjoy!