Grocery Cart Make Over: Just in Time for the Holidays
One of the best ways to eat healthier and avoid weight gain during the holidays this year is to plan weekly trips to the grocery store. That's right. Go shopping. I suggest you book an appointment for yourself each week (write it in your planner) to go grocery shopping. It's a simple, yet powerful, way to make sure you are eating foods that are good for you and avoiding foods that are not.
Think of your grocery cart as your gateway to a healthy weight. Follow these tips and watch with pride as your groceries are packed into bags, knowing that you're taking a positive step to feel better and avoid the holiday weight gain this year.1. Plan your meals.
Use a meal planning template to develop a weekly meal plan. Sit down and spend some time during the weekend to plan out your meals for the week so you can avoid eating at fast food restaurants or ordering take-out meals at the last minute. It's easier to nourish yourself and manage your weight when you plan and prepare meals at home more often.2. Make a list.
Make a healthy shopping list at home before you go to the grocery store - and stick to it. Be sure to include nutrient-rich foods from each of the five food groups so you will be eating nutritious, well-balance meals throughout the week. Remember, if it's not on your list; don't put it in your grocery cart. This will keep the chips and doughnuts out of the house and out of your mouth.3. Shop the perimeter.
You may have heard this advice before and it's actually true. The outer aisles of the grocery store are where you will find "whole" foods that have minimal processing: the deli (lean protein and low fat cheese), produce (fresh fruits and vegetables, herbs), bakery (whole grain breads), seafood counter (high omega-3 fish), dairy (low fat milk, cheese and yogurt) and the meat counter (lean poultry). That doesn't mean, however, that you need to steer clear of the middle aisles all together. The middle aisles contain items such as condiments, crackers, pastas, spices and cereals - some of which are healthy. Read labels to help you decide what to put in your cart.4. Read labels.
As you head down the aisles of the store, spend some time reading labels. In particular, look for high fiber foods that are low in sugar, sodium and saturated or trans-fats. Packaged foods with the fewest ingredients are usually best. For example, choose a cereal that has only a few ingredients such as Nature's Path Whole-Os Cereal
. The more ingredients a packaged product has, the more likely it is to contain additives, preservatives, and refined grains.5. Splurge on yourself.
Sometimes it is worth it to spend a little more to get healthier food such as organic fruits and vegetables. Avoiding harsh chemicals and pesticides whenever possible is a great step towards better health. And yet, it's not a good idea to get bogged down by the idea that you have to buy organic all the time. Eating vegetables (even if not organic) is better than eating no vegetables at all - especially when it comes to losing weight. To learn more about which fruits and vegetables are best to buy organic, check out The Dirty Dozen
.Lorraine Matthews-Antosiewicz, MS RD, is a food and nutrition expert specializing in weight management and digestive health. She is committed to empowering people through education, support, and inspiration to make real changes that lead to optimal health and lasting weight loss. Take her Free Self-Assessment and learn how you can lose 20 lb. - or more. Jump Start your weight loss today!http://njnutritionist.com/freeassessment
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