There is a lot of confusion out there in terms of nutrition. All matters of what to eat, how much to eat, when to eat, etc. are jumbled, confusing, and contradictory. The overload of information takes away from the eating healthy when that may be your goal in the first place.
And then we’re faced with the question of what to buy to eat lean and healthy. Buying groceries can be confusing when trying to change your lifestyle or even keep on a healthy path.
Labels, commercials, and the media certainly don’t help when trying to get on the right healthy track. A lot of packaged foods tend to have buzz words like, “low-fat” or “low carb,” “multi-grain,” that can lead to you think they’re healthy. Be aware, these foods often have added ingredients (sugar, sodium, chemicals) that won’t help get you to your healthy eating goals, and may even put you father behind than where you started.
Here are my personal tips when it comes to grocery shopping…
Buy locally and buy fresh.
Stick to the outside of the grocery store when shopping. Products that are on the permitting of the store is where the bulk of your shopping cart should come from. Why? Think about it, what really does fill in the middle of most grocery stores? Packaged, processed foods. Fresh, whole foods make up the outside isles of grocery stores, where you can load up on plants (fruits and veggies), (hopefully) grass-fed meats, dried beans or legumes, and bulk bins of nuts and seeds.
It’s not to say that you can’t venture into the middle isles but try and do the majority of cart-filling with fresh, whole foods. Next time you’re at the store, pay attention to where all of the different foods really are located.
I prefer to buy my groceries locally and try to avoid the big chain stores as much as possible. The prices may not vary too much and the local produce is usually more nutritious and definitely more fresh. Places like Whole Foods, although a little more expensive for some things, usually carries (or at least offer) product and products that are local to your area. Your best bet and my favorite place to shop is always the local farmers market.
When winter comes along, these stores do have to import some of their produce, but I still find these fruits and veggies much better in quality. A lot of times organic products are available, but at this point I decide if it is a good deal for the money. Going organic is nice but sometimes can be pricey for those who are trying to make their dollar go further.
Buy fresh as much as possible, and avoid packaged frozen foods with the exception of plain, frozen fruits and vegetables. Most of the time pre-packaged frozen foods are filled with sodium and other chemicals for preservation purposes. Frozen berries and some greens are convenient and work great when in a pinch.
Your Grocery List
This is a list that you can keep in your pocket when its time to go grocery shopping.
- Egg Whites
- Whole Eggs
- Chicken Breast
- Lean Ground Turkey or Chicken
- Lean Ground Bison
- Lean Ground Beef (buy only grass-fed)
- White Fish
- Beans (kidney, garbanzo, black beans, etc.)
- Legumes and lentils
- Oatmeal (Old Fashioned or Steel Cut)
- Brown Rice
- Brown Rice Pasta
- Sweet Potatoes
Fibrous Carbohydrates, Fruits and Vegetables
- Green Leafy Lettuce
- Green Beans
- Bell Peppers
- Lemons and Limes
- Bananas, Nectarines, Peaches, Plums, Grapes (moderate consumption due to high sugar)
- Olive Oil
- Coconut Oil
- Natural Nut Butters
- Coconut Butter
- Flax Seeds or Flax Oil
Adding some canned items to your pantry is awesome for fast meals. On hand, I usually keep canned tomato sauces, crushed tomatoes, low sodium broths, canned beans, and tuna in the house. Dried beans, legumes, rices, quinoa, potatoes, nuts and seeds, garlic and onions are also good foods that keep for a while so you can buy these in bulk and have them on hand.
Spices are also wonderful to add to a healthy eating grocery list. Spices can add incredible flavor to foods without adding any extra fat. Some spices I always have around and use often are:
- Garlic Powder
- Ginger Powder
- Nutritional Yeast (not technically a spice but I use it readily like one)
- Himalayan Sea Salt
- Black Peppercorns (in a grinder fresh to grind to each dish)
Mix and match my spices at home to make interesting combinations for my foods. The possibilities with spices literally are endless!
Healthy eating can be a fun and creative way of life. Be prepared and explore new foods. Enjoy!
Bottom-line: Eat unprocessed and fresh. Enjoy fully what you put into your body. Food should be fuel, use it [deliciously] properly.