How to make healthy choices in the supermarket

Have you ever been hungry or thirsty while you were out in the supermarket? There’s nothing worse when you’re attempting to buy healthy foods, all of a sudden your shopping cart is filled with food and drinks that you don’t really need or want. Have you ever wondered why a lot of the supermarkets and grocery stores have the same set up? One of the reasons is to get you into a certain habit and routine so you to buy the same products every time. We can also use this layout to our advantage.

A lot of the supermarkets have their products layed out in a way that you can find the fresh/whole/”healthy” foods along the outer walls of the store. This makes it so easy for many of us, because we only have to tell ourselves to stay close to the outer walls as much as we can and we’ll find a lot more healthy products inside our baskets when we end up at the register. This doesn’t mean you should never ever venture into the middle part of the store to find the products that you need. As an example, my local supermarket stores their meat, chicken and fish in the middle part of the store. There are definitely products that are beneficial to our nutrition that you are probably not going to find along the outer walls. Knowing where to find these foods and making sure you’re not venturing out to grab foods that are not within your nutrition is key. This brings me to my second tip, go in the your food shopping with a plan in mind.

Having a plan means having control

Having a plan for the foods that you want to buy and the meals you want to cook for the upcoming days will have a significant impact on your shopping experience. For one, it will significantly cut down the time that you’re spending in the supermarket on a weekly basis. Having a plan will also allow you to stay in control of your money, if you grab a bunch of random products, you never really know what amount of money you’re to spend until it’s too late (been there, done that). The last reason I want to bring up right now is the most important one when it comes to your health. It gives us the power to stay in control of our nutrition. If you have planned out the meals that you want to prepare for the upcoming days you’re more likely to stay within the boundaries of your nutrition and with that, your goals. Not knowing what foods you need to be putting into your basket while you’re out shopping can lead to stress and eventually impulse buying, not in a good way ( I have definitely been there).

Coming into the supermarket with your plan in mind and actually sticking to it will give you a sense of empowerment, pride and confidence. It feels good to know that you’re well prepared for your nutrition for the upcoming day. It should also make you feel like you like you have set another step in the right direction in reaching/ maintaining your goals.

Stick to whole foods

Why stick with the unprocessed foods? Well, the word unprocessed should give you that answer to that question. Foods that are being filled up with chemicals, sugars, sweeteners and all the other stuff that they’re putting in there today is not actually food. Whole foods have a shelf life because bacteria want to eat it and that’s why it goes bad, heavily processed foods don’t have that. If bacteria don’t want to eat it, why would we?

A good definition of Processed foods is foods that have been cooked, canned, frozen, packaged or changed in nutritional composition with fortifying, preserving or preparing in different ways.

A good definition of Whole foods is, foods that are unprocessed and unrefined, or processed and refined as little as possible, before being consumed. Basically, if it had a heartbeat, grew out of the ground or from a tree and it has not been processed or refined you can call it a whole food.

A list of whole foods are:

  • Fruits: Berries, citrus fruits, pears, peaches, pineapple, bananas, etc.
  • Vegetables: Kale, spinach, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, asparagus, peppers, etc.
  • proteins: chicken, beef, lamb, eggs, seafood/fish etc. (preferably grassfed and wild caught)
  • Starchy vegetables: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, etc.
  • Whole grains: Brown rice, rolled oats, quinoa, brown rice, barley, etc.
  • Healthy fats: Avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, unsweetened coconut, etc.
  • Légumes: Peas, chick peas, lentils, peanuts, black beans, etc.
  • Seeds, nuts and nut butters: Almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, natural peanut butter, tahini, etc.
  • Unsweetened plant-based milks: Coconut milk, almond milk, cashew milk, etc.
  • Spices, herbs and seasonings: Basil, rosemary, turmeric, curry, black pepper, salt, etc.
  • Condiments: Salsa, mustard, nutritional yeast, vinegar, lemon juice, etc.
  • Plant-based protein: Tofu, tempeh, plant based protein sources or powders with no added sugar or artificial ingredients.

I understand that not everything on the list above fits the definition of whole foods

Difference Between Quick Cooking Rolled Oats & Instant Rolled Oats ...
rolled oats

that I talked about earlier. When buying ”whole foods” the main thought is to stay away from heavily processed/ added sugar foods and stay as close to the foods with a lifespan as possible. Let’s take rolled oats for example, are oats commonly unprocessed? no probably not, but the key here is to stay away from the heavily processed and added sugar oats. Some oats are very lightly processed and deserve their ”healthy” status which makes it worthy to put on the ”whole food list” that I provided above. If you can eat just whole foods, go for it and big kudos to you. For a lot of us it’s not obtainable. The key like I mentioned above is sticking with the whole foods as much as we can while making the best decisions possible when it comes to the rest of our nutrition.

Don’t go to the supermarket on an empty stomach

One last tip that I want to provide you with is what we started this blog of with. There are just a few things that are worse when it comes to making decision about food than being hungry while you’re out shopping for food. Have a meal or snack before going into the supermarket to ensure you keep your impulse buying to a minimum. Having a plan isn’t good enough because your stomach is definitely going to override that list (speaking from experience here).

The better prepared you’re while you’re out shopping for foods is going to help save you a lot of money, a lot of time and a lot of regrettable decisions.

  • Stick to the outer walls
  • Have a plan
  • Stick to whole foods
  • go food shopping after a meal

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Categories: carbs, diabetes, diet, fat, Fitness, Food, healthy, home, lifestyle, nutrition, trainingTags: , , , , , , , ,

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