How do we get into a habit of consuming a healthy diet? You might be surprised, but it is rather straightforward, you begin with a healthy grocery cart!
Allow me to elaborate further! To have a habit of consuming healthy food, it starts with the consistent habit of getting the right type of nutrition from the very beginning!
The art of conjuring up a healthy meal would be much more difficult if the only thing you have in your cupboard or pantry was a box of Mac N’ Cheese and a can of SPAM. Imagine the nutritional value in these types of food! (You get what I mean) It leaves you with no chance for a healthy meal if that was your case!
Therefore, the first thing you want to achieve is to stockpile your cupboard with healthy ingredients purchased from the grocery store or your neighborhood market. For some of you out there, the first dilemma surfaces immediately, some are probably wondering, does this mean I have to read each and every food label on the grocery items that I pick up from the grocery store? Yes and no, perhaps that may not be the best way to utilize your time.
It is ultimately true that most labels will give you all the information you need to calculate the nutritional value contained in each of the meals you are about to cook. But then again, always remember that grocery stores are all about marketing and tend to oversell you on more food (than you want) rather than the food that you ‘need’. Think about the buy 3 get 1 free deals found with potato chips or cookies or the buy now and get an extra chocolate bar along with your purchase (as an example).
But fear not, grocery shopping for a list of healthy food should not be as hard as rocket science, but on the other hand, it may require a little work ahead of time.
Here are my 3 tips on how to get into a healthy diet with first starting with a healthy grocery cart!
Tip#1: Plan Ahead For Optimal Outcomes!
Most of the nutrition gurus would indicate that your process of eating healthy starts even before you set foot in the grocery
One great idea to have is to plan your meals for the week ahead of time! Start by writing down a list that contains healthy dishes that you would like to cook throughout the week. From this list of healthy meals, work backwards and list out the healthy ingredients that you need and this helps in two ways. First, it prevents you from having to make multiple trips to the store in case you forget something (could also save you tons of money as well). Secondly, it also allows you to stick to ONLY the things that are necessary for you to cook your desired healthy meals! (No accidental, “Oops, I ran out of healthy ingredients and hence, I will have to start on the Mac N’ Cheese type of scenario)
Here are some bonuses: In order to save more money, you planned ahead with a list, you may also consider searching for grocery stores that actually gives you a huge discount on the items that you need! Search for coupons that are relevant to the healthy food items that you plan to purchase! I am pretty sure all of you have seen ads in the newspapers or magazines on food items going on sale. But be sure to only stick to your list of healthy food that you intend to purchase! (This is crucial!)
The next thing to pay attention to is the food pyramid, the added benefit of planning ahead allows you to to plan your grocery list with only including food that is on the food pyramid guidelines! – Advice from Elizabeth Ward, a registered dietitian and the author of The Pocket Idiot’s Guide to the New Food Pyramids.
Therefore, based on the food pyramid guide, fill your shopping cart with lots of
fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, lean meat, fish, nuts, as well as poultry and some dairy products. Elizabeth further advises her readers to try a variety of healthy starches, instead of consuming white potatoes, you could choose sweet potatoes, which are richer in beta-carotene, or to select baby spinach as an option for vegetables instead of lettuce. Part of the goal is to have a variety of healthy food choices and rotate between these choices on a weekly basis!
Tip#2: Be A Smart And Savvy Shopper:
Notice that most of the grocery stores has their produce on the perimeter of the grocery stores and all the junk food and less healthy items in the center? Well, plan out your route and stick to the perimeter of the grocery stores where the fresh food items like vegetables, dairy, meat, and fish are usually located at.
Always go for fresh fruits rather than the fruit juices or processed food. This is mainly because a lot of the vitamins and minerals are likely to have been diminished after the food processing steps that is required to get it on the shelf.(This includes fortified food such as fortified cereals etc.) The other reason to go with fresh fruits and vegetables is because in a lot of the processed foods, there are additives that have been included, and a lot of times, these may include artificial sweeteners, flavorings or even coloring that could be unhealthy to you and your family members.
If you have kids, this is the next rule to adhere to! Steer clear of the products with lots of cartoon characters on their packaging! These type of food are typically laced with a lot of the aforementioned, food coloring, flavoring, and artificial sweeteners. Why wouldn’t they? The purpose of food for kids is to attract consumers (young, in fact consumers that are too young to understand the nutritional value of food), especially our kids to be enticed with the cartoon characters and the colors, and get hooked with all sorts of flavoring.
The last tip is to stay away from (as much as possible) from food that contains more than five ingredients or ingredients that even your English literature teacher may not be able to pronounce accurately. The idea is that with lesser ingredients, there is lesser chance that the food item you picked up contains refined sugar, fats, and different types of preservatives.
Tip#3: The General Idea
“Never go grocery shopping when you are hungry”.
Here is a general tip that you have heard from most of your friends or family from time to time. The reason is obvious, when you are hungry, you have the tendency to reach out and grab whatever food or snacks that comes within reach (Some may even go out of their way to grab the snacks). Typically, the food items or snacks that one tends to reach for will be the unhealthy ones, simply because you are hungry, you have waited long enough during the trip to get to the grocery store. Second, you have to purchase and cook healthy food before you could fill your stomach. Last but not least, it is the snacks that will fill the void of your immediate cravings and such habits or practices tends to deter you from a healthy type of diet.
Avoid rush hour: There is a sound reason behind this. If you have a choice and are fortunate to not have to go for grocery shopping during rush hour, please do so. During rush hour, there is an added element of stress with regards to the amount of people that are with you at the grocery store. It is harder to take the time to read the food labels and evaluate the nutrition values of certain food items. And most importantly, when you are ready to pay and leave? You may start to get hungry, and the scenario above comes into play! And what is waiting for you at the check-out counters? It never fails to be tons and tons of sweet options, such as candy, mints, quick snacks such as a high calorie and sugary cakes or muffins. And if you fall to temptation, again, it derails you from your habit of keeping healthy.
The next quick idea is for your to grab the smallest cart or basket available. The logic behind this advice is also rather straightforward, with a huge cart, psychologically, we as consumers may tend to feel that there is a need to fill up the entire cart before you pay for your items! That is the risk you run when you go without a shopping list in hand! You may pass by a certain isle and realize, “Hmm, I still have some space, I will go ahead and load up my cart with it (could be an unhealthy item)”. Therefore, based on the list that you have, visualize the space that is required to fill your cart and grab the smallest cart or basket that will allow you to fit all the items that you need.
The next tip is to go with local produce. This is a great and easy way to save a little bit of money, and go with what the current season has to offer. And the best of all? Sometimes even though it may not be labeled as being organic, it may just be because local farmers does not have the means to actually get their produced certified as being an organic product
So, there you have it, those are the tips I would like to share with you on how to build a healthier lifestyle starting with ‘healthy items in your grocery cart’! You may have noticed that a few of the tips above ties into money saving options.
As we all know, there are multiple ways to be saving our money aside from what is mentioned above. For a more robust tip on building your financial wealth, and help you build a nest-egg on the long run, visit journeywithmoney.com
Please feel free to leave a message or comment below. Alternatively, you may email me at firstname.lastname@example.org