The Grocery Store: The trip that can make or break your diet!

All dieting begins at one place: The Grocery Store. Whether you are shopping at an expensive store like Whole Foods or your neighborhood chain there are a few simple rules to shopping.

The general rule when planning healthy meals and snacks is to AVOID the center of the store at all costs. This is the area where the processed, heavily sugared, and high fat foods live. The outer areas of most grocery stores and supermarkets contain the foods that you should be considering while shopping. Here you will find fresh produce, juices (the fresh type without all the added sugars), dairy, and lean meats. Of course there are a few items that we need from the center of the store, but while visiting this area it is a good idea to be mindful of labels and ingredients!

Let’s talk vegetables for a minute. Studies have shown that frozen vegetables are just as healthy as fresh! That’s great news if you live in an area that has seasons and fresh vegetables aren’t always available! What it really comes down to here is how the vegetables are prepared. Steaming and microwaving fresh and frozen vegetables will yield more nutritious nutrient density than cooking in fats, oils, or boiling. Boiling often extracts nutrients into the water, which is usually discarded; cooking in oil adds unnecessary fats to vegetables, which when fresh or frozen should be tasty without the need for added fat. A great way to include variety with vegetables is to purchase in season; not only are you getting fresh, local produce but you are also eating a variety of vegetables!

A great way to cut down on dietary fat and cholesterol is to choose meats that are low in fat. It’s great that most meats can be ordered to your specifications by speaking with the local butcher or deli counter. Meats, such as ground beef will be labelled with a percentage of fat. It’s a good idea to choose meats that approximately 95% lean, these have less fat than cheaper meats in the 80 percentiles and just enough fat to make a juicy burger or meatloaf.

When considering dairy, your best bet is non-fat (skim) milk. I personally love soy milk, but most people don’t realize that non-fat milk contains less calories than its equal volume of soy. It is still being debated whether or not the estrogen found in soy has negative side effects in humans.

These are just a few simple concepts to ponder the next time you find yourself in the grocery store. Do you have any other questions regarding shopping? Please email us at: info@helpinghandsfitness so that we can share these answers with others!

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