Healthy living begins with healthy eating and healthy eating begins with healthy shopping.
Regardless of what nutritional program you are following — whether it is low fat, no-sugar, low carbohydrate, or based on some other method — there are always healthier choices that can be made when you are shopping.
Support your nutritional program week-by-week and day-by-day by ensuring that you stock up on the wholesome foods you need for your meals and snacks. Having the right food on hand helps you avoid eating the wrong things such as food, which is too high in fat, calories, sodium, and sugar. Additionally, shopping wisely helps you eat more of the good things like fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Use the suggestions below to avoid supermarket “traps” and help stay on track…
Plan The Shop & Shop The Plan
Put on your ‘thinking cap’ and make a list of the foods you need before you shop and stick closely to it. Plan your shopping around your favorite meals and recipes & don’t be tempted by those wayward specials that may fall outside the foods best for your program.
HALT! Don’t Shop When You’re Hungry-Angry-Lonely-Tired
Heed this word and make sure to eat before you shop to avoid impulse buying or stocking up on items you may regret later.
Begin With Colors
Fill up your shopping cart first in the produce section with lots of vitamin-rich vegetables and fruits. Select a variety of colors, flavors, and textures to add interest and variety to your meals. Be adventurous and go for exotic fruits or vegetables that you may not usually choose.
Choose Individual Servings
When buying chicken, fish, or meat, get single meal-size servings that you can freeze and use as needed. That way you’ll always have good-quality fresh protein on hand and won’t be tempted to eat more than your body wants. Likewise, buy fresh vegetables like mini carrots in small packages too. They’ll stay fresh and make convenient “on-the-go” snacks.
Supermarket aisles are avenues to greater nutritional knowledge as the food label offers more complete, useful, and accurate nutrition information than ever before. Become a fervent ‘label reader’ and scrutinize packaged foods, dressings, and sauces before purchasing.
Avoid The “Aisle Of Weakness”
In all honesty, everyone has their “aisle of weakness”-be it the ice cream, cakes, or sweet section. Do yourself a favor and avoid mouth-watering temptation by steering completely clear of the entire area. And this “aisle” (or “aisles”) is usually found in the center! So, shop the perimeter of the store first, which is where you find the healthier foods.
Tantalize & Excite Your Taste Buds
Stimulate your palate and your recipes with the inspiration of fresh herbs like basil, ginger, lemongrass, and cilantro. In addition, stock up on spices that can literally transform an ordinary meal into an exotic dish. Actively pursue variety. Expand your range of choices and explore new tastes, within and among food groups. Eating a wide variety of foods not only promotes optimal nutrition but also provides us with the ‘pleasure factor’.
Don’t Feel Deprived
Even though there are certain foods you’ll want to avoid on your nutritional program, the supermarket is packed with a great variety of health-friendly food items. By choosing a variety of the foods you enjoy, and watching your portions, you need never feel deprived -no matter what foods you choose. Make moderation your goal, you decide how much and how often. Healthy eating doesn’t mean feeling deprived or guilty.
Before you check out, ask yourself (honestly!) if there is any item in your shopping cart that you could remove to better support your program. Put yourself and your optimal nutritional program before all else.
When you shop healthily, it is a great contributor to the ‘feel-good factor’!! Additionally, consider clearing your cupboards and fridge of any foods that don’t support your program. With only great-tasting nutritious foods around you can cook up a healthy storm and enjoy your meals & snacks to the fullest -and enjoy the pleasurable aspects of eating and… living!