Nutrition Habit #6: Commit to Shopping at least once per week and stocking up on healthy choices.
What happens if you get home and you are starved and there is nothing to eat? You are more likely to choose a less-healthy item or dial up a take-out restaurant and order something high in fat and calories. If you want to commit to a healthy diet, you have got to commit to setting up a framework for success. This includes planning a trip to the grocery shop weekly and then potentially one or two smaller trips to the store or Farmer's Market to top up on fresh fruits and veggies. You can not expect to adhere to a healthy diet without making this very important commitment to yourself.
Shop from a grocery list prepared when you are not hungry or stressed out
Determine exactly what you need for a particular period of time. This is where meal-planning for the week ahead really helps. For example, keep what you’ll eat for breakfast, lunch and snacks pretty simple and consistent. Then decide what you’ll eat for dinners each night. For example, you might decide Monday you’ll make a home-made vegetarian pizza. Tuesday, you’ll make salmon, vegetables and rice. Wednesday, you’ll do a vegetable and pasta marinara and salad. Thursday, you’ll do a shrimp and vegetable stir-fry. Friday, you’ll eat out. Saturday, you’ll do chicken or veggie burgers, vegetables and salad. And Sunday, you’ll make healthy burritos. Then buy what you need to make each meal throughout the week. Don’t overbuy – Be careful of bulk buying. And try never go grocery shopping when you’re hungry!
As soon as you get home, plan time to clean, cut and chop fresh produce to ensure it’s ready to be eaten (unless you buy the pre-cut and washed). Cook-a-thons will also make sticking to your nutrition plan a lot easier. Opening the fridge to find a bowl of chili, home-made soup, pasta salad or chopped vegetables will make it more likely that you grab for these healthier items.
Great foods to put in your shopping cart:
Cold cereal – Cherrios, , Bran, Granola
100% whole grain bread or English muffins (or other bread products)
100% whole wheat pitas
100% whole wheat tortillas
100% whole wheat pizza shells
100% whole wheat pasta
Meats (unless you are a vegetarian then chose vegetarian options!):
Skinless, boneless chicken breast halves and/or frozen cut-up chicken for stir-fries
Skinless salmon filets / 1 whole fish
Skinless turkey breasts
Sliced cooked salmon, turkey or chicken
Ground turkey or lean beef
Frozen chicken or vegetable meat patties
Skim milk or low-fat soy/rice/oatbran milk fortified with vitamin D and calcium
1 bag of part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese
Container of feta-cheese
Low-fat probiotic Yogurt cups
Bags of frozen veggies – green beans, peas, broccoli, corn, stir-fry
Bags of frozen fruit – blueberries, raspberries, strawberries
Frozen Meals – Lean Cuisine or Healthy Choice – When you’re too tired to cook or in a hurry, these are life savers. They are low in salt, calories, fat and Trans-fats plus they’re actually quite yummy!
Soups – look for low sodium
Soy-nut peanut butter or all-natural peanut butter (no trans fat, no added sugar)
Bottled Water/Flavored Water
100% Orange with pulp/Cranberry/Grapefruit Juice (fortified with calcium, magnesium and Vit. D)
V-8 (low sodium)
Fresh Produce: Fruits/Vegetables
You’ve got complete freedom in this area. Buy what you love. Here’s some must haves…
3-5 bags of salad mix like Romaine, Spinach or Mixed Greens (make it easy to make salads everyday)
Bag of cut-up stir-fry veggies
Pre-cut and washed veggies – carrots, broccoli, sweet peas, cauliflower, celery, asparagus, mushrooms (make it easy to eat your veggies!)
Peppers – red, yellow, orange, green
Apples/Pears/Grapes/Bananas/Oranges/Grapefruit/Tangerines – plus whatever is in season
Soy sauce – low sodium
Salad dressing/Salad spritzers - vinaigrettes are a great choice
Other favorite spices
Nuts – raw walnuts/almonds unsalted– don’t buy too much. And once you get them home, put them in mini-ziplock snack bags separated 10 to a bag
Dried fruits – apricots, cranberries, apples…
If you have a real sweet tooth and are looking for healthier options to prevent the 500 plus calorie dessert binges, try the following:
Yogurt and granola
Weight-watcher deserts – they typically keep them at 100 calories per serving
Pudding cups – 60 calories per cup
Gum/Small bag of hard candies – when you feel a craving coming on, chew on some gum or pop a hard candy and suck on it for a while. It will often do the trick.
Frozen yogurt – but just buy the smaller cartons to prevent eating a whole gallon
I hope this helps give you some direction for your next grocery trip.
Yours in health and fitness,