How do I choose healthy foods at the grocery store? If you are like most people, at some point you ask yourself this same question. There are some general guidelines that can help you make the right choices, but most important and helpful is being prepared.
Before going to the store, make out a menu for at least 3 days, too much can be overwhelming and too little you are running out to the store too often. If you are new to this or just starting a healthy eating program, planning your menu will help you and keep you on target.
Start with easy things you can prepare and try preparing meals that are close to what you are used to. For example, if you like having sandwiches for lunch, choose breads that have no high fructose corn syrup and if possible no sugar. Use only breads that have 100% whole wheat, read the labels though, many types of bread that say whole wheat aren’t 100% whole wheat.
A good choice is in the frozen section, the sprouted breads, give them a try they are delicious. . Be careful, due to the lack of preservatives and added sugars and chemicals they will not last as long as most other breads.
Pick lean meat such as turkey or chicken. Best choice is to bake or grill your own to have on hand to put on the sandwich. Use a spread like humus and then add any vegetables on top. An easy choice is the bagged and washed salad or select things you like from the salad bar most stores have.
For breakfast, keep it simple but don’t forget to eat it. Oatmeal is a great choice, it’s healthy, low fat and filling. Try the quick cooking oats and prepare with soy or rice milk. You can add wheat germ, flax seed, fruit and nuts to increase the health benefits and taste.
Dinners can be whatever you like, try replacing white potatoes with baked sweet potatoes. Use brown rice instead of white rice, cooking with low sodium chicken or vegetable broth will add more flavor to it. Use beans and lentils with grains and skip the protein some nights, you will save money and it’s healthy yet still providing a complete protein. When you are cooking with a protein, use only lean meats and try to get only organic meats, without the use of hormones and antibiotics.
Don’t forget snacks either. Fruit and nuts are great snacks and healthy-try to get nuts that are raw and unsalted though.
If you are still not sure what to make and buy-try making a list of foods that are good for you and then from that list, make your menu that way. It may be easier.
Start your list by mentally going through the grocery store. Sometimes it is easier to build your meals around main dishes so start there. Imagine you are in the meat and seafood section, pick one or two items from there.
Next, go through the pasta and grain sections. Remember, only whole grains and brown rice. Look at the labels very carefully since the tittles on the box can be misleading.
Fill in the rest of the shopping from the outer aisles. Reading labels is the best way to insure you are getting only the healthiest foods. Just replacing foods you normally buy with a healthy version can start you on the right track!
For a quick guide, try eliminating all of the foods listed below and replacing them with the alternate.
Eliminate all prepared and flavored rice as well as white rice.
Replace with brown rice and try other grains
Try eliminating white potatoes.
Replace with baked sweet potatoes.
Eliminate whole full fat milk.
Replace with skim milk, soy milk or rice milk
Reduce or eliminate red meat. If you must choose only the lowest fat types and get the organic or meat that the use of antibiotic and hormones have not been used.
Replace with beans and grains or lean meats, chicken, turkey and fish and seafood.
Go wild, anything (except for the white potatoes) is a go. Just be careful how you prepare them. Forget the butter and sauces. If you don’t enjoy plain vegetables, try lightly sauting in olive oil adding garlic and onions and pepper for seasoning.
Eliminate all prepared dinners and meals.
Only get vegetables that are plan, no sauce at all.
Grains and pastas.
Only whole grain, brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, ty brown rice pasta for something different.
Except for beans and tuna, forget this section.
Only nuts here, again, aim for raw, unsalted.
Try to limit dairy but yogurt, low fat cheese, cage free, no hormone eggs and low fat, skim milk or soy or rice milk.
Avoid anything with high fructose corn syrup or any other type of syrup sweetener. Try to limit items to less then 5 ingredients. If you cannot read, pronounce and know what the ingredients are, skip this product.
Soon you will be able to breeze through the store. You will begin to get comfortable with the products you find and rely on. You will feel better, look better and save money too!