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Grocery Shopping for Healthy Food

Healthy foods are often the least obvious. It is quite easy to find healthy foods at your grocery store. They are the green vegetables that greet you soon after you walk through the front door. An array of multi-colored tomatoes, melons, onions, apples, oranges, pears, parsley, carrots and even turnips and beans and squash and much are there waiting to be chosen. These days, organic foods are a big item and are aligned in their own separate space but next to the run-of-the-mill green groceries.

Why are these labeled healthier than the meats and the cereals and the pastries and the dairy food on shelves and bins farther along the isles? They are a mixture of all the nutrients you will ever need. They supply protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Beans along with grains such as rice and wheat and rye and corn supply protein as efficiently as meats and are much easier to digest. Not only do they supply a reasonable amount of protein, they supply energy for the body and much needed fiber. All in all, vegetables and fruits are by far the healthiest foods one can buy at the supermarket.

However, they are not alone in the vegetable kingdom, nuts grown from trees are chocked full of vitamins and minerals supplying various types of nutrients needed for a well rounded diet. Caution here, they are heavy on the calories, but a fourth of a cup as a morning snack or tossed on a bowl of cereal is sure to add some much needed nourishment to get your day started off right.

It is much more interesting, and healthier, to add your own food concoctions than buy them already combined. By that I mean a plain box of oat or wheat or corn cereal without added sugar and nuts and fruit and coloring is less expensive and will contain more of the good stuff if you add your own. Not only that the little tidbits of raisins, nuts, or apple chunks or whatever does not amount to even a cupful probably and besides that, they have been on shelves getting drier and more brittle each day.

Several fresh sliced strawberries or a fourth cup of cranberries or blueberries and sliced almonds or pecans, or even walnuts would decorate that bowl of cereal and will still have all its nourishing qualities. Yes, I repeat there is plenty of healthy food in the grocery store, but the top prize for the healthiest is the vegetables you grow in your gardens. Of course this is not always possible but a little pot of parsley or basil or chives on a window sill will add a little home grown taste to your salads.

Where foods are concerned, vegetables may be the darlings of nutritionists but chefs as well as shoppers prefer the meat and dairy isle. The good and the bad are mixed in together here. You must weed out the fat from the lean but the health benefit is worth the hunt. Of course the fat is what gives the flavor to the meat and when most of this is trimmed off, some of the flavor goes, but staying healthy is not free. You must give up something and sacrificing a little flavor for a healthier you is not too painful. Too, meat is much more expensive than vegetables so use it sparingly and fill in with vegetables and fruits.

Go easy on the dairy too. For a real healthy diet one percent milk is far better – yet less flavorful – than whole milk. It’s the calcium that milk supplies that makes it an important food that all of us make extra trips to the grocery store when we have used up the last drop. Be careful here though. If you insist on buying half and half for coffee and skim milk to drink, you are defeating your purpose. This is especially if you are a heavy coffee drinker.

Oh yes, grocery stores also have decaffeinated coffee and beverages and they carry foods with labels on packages that tell of the sodium content and exactly how potential harmful to you they really are. Manufacturers probably count on the fact most shoppers don’t read labels, but surprise them now and then. When you see a worker idling, ask him about why the store doesn’t carry gluten free foods or certain brands you like. If enough shoppers make the same request, they will add that item to their list.