Hey everyone! I’m sorry I haven’t posted in a little while, I just returned from a trip to warm, sunny Florida. During my trip, I was away from the comfort of my own kitchen, so staying on track was a bit of a challenge. However, I did my best to eat within my calorie goals and I am extremely proud of myself for not overindulging.
This made me think about a method that seriously works to help you stay on track to eating healthy and living a healthy lifestyle. It all comes down to making good choices in the grocery store. When you shop smart, it will feel natural to eat healthy foods.
Think about it: if you buy a bag of potato chips, you are likely to eat some (if not many) of them. Having them available and seeing them laying around can make you not only crave them, but you’ll be very likely to eat some. When you eat a few chips, it becomes extremely difficult to stop munching on them. This often leads to consuming excess calories that contain very few nutrients. If you never bought the chips in the first place, this wouldn’t have even occurred.
Every year, my mother buys Girl Scout Cookies to support the local troops. Recently, seeing the box in the kitchen has tempted me to indulge in a couple of Savannah Smiles more than I would like to. If these weren’t in my house, I would never eat a single one! Simply viewing an unhealthy treat and having it within reach can promote unhealthy eating.
This is why it is extremely important to buy healthy foods only at the grocery store. If your health goals include weight loss, it’s important to say “bye for now” to unhealthy treats and snacks. If you buy them and have them around, you’re more likely to eat some. If you surround yourself with healthy foods and snacks only, those are what you will eat. It’s simple!
When in the grocery store, here are some tips to shop smart:
- Avoid snack aisles entirely. When approaching the chips and candy aisle, continue past it without looking back. Browsing through the unhealthy snack options may tempt you to purchase some of your favorites. Skipping the trip down these lanes will help you forget about the junk food and focus on what’s healthy. Many nutritionists advise to shop around the perimeter of the grocery store, which means to focus on the produce, meat, dairy, and bread sections, instead of the many processed foods in the center aisles. Of course, there are some healthy products that are not located on the perimeter, including oatmeal, canned beans, frozen vegetables, and more. But for the most part, staying clear of snack aisles will help you to stay on track and remove these guilty pleasures from your healthy lifestyle.
- Read the nutrition facts label! I can’t stress how important this is. When I first started my weight loss journey, I learned this crucial skill. Pay attention to the serving size first and foremost. In a small seemingly single-serving sized bag of chips, there could be multiple servings listed in the nutrition facts. Don’t let these companies fool you. Make sure that the calorie content in the foods you choose are not outrageous per serving either. Once you figure out your daily calorie goal, looking at food labels will help you to choose foods that fit into your daily life.
- Beware of deceiving foods. Certain snacks might claim to be healthy, but actually contain lots of sugar or unhealthy fats. Certain cereals claim to be heart-healthy and low calorie, but they can contain 10 grams of sugar per serving or more! Plus, the serving sizes of these cereals are often smaller than many would think: some only 3/4 of a cup. Don’t forget to measure your foods when you consume them, but also know exactly what you’re putting in your body. Another culprit is veggie chips. Before I started losing weight, I thought these were a healthier option because they said “veggie” on them. In reality, these are just as unhealthy as regular potato chips. They won’t keep you full either. Make sure to check the nutrition label before purchasing any snack.
- Not everything in the health section is healthy. In fact, most of it is processed and not the greatest choices. Organic cookies, chips, cereals, pastries, and more may sound healthier, but they can contain just as much sugar and calories as non-organic foods. Keep checking those nutrition labels to make sure you’re not being fooled
- Keep in mind what will keep you full. Certain nutrients will keep you satiated longer than others. Complex carbohydrates (ex. 100% whole wheat bread products, brown rice, sweet potatoes, beans) will make you fuller longer than simple carbohydrates (ex. white bread, white rice, sugary cereals, candy). Healthy fats, including avocados, will have you feeling full longer than chips and unhealthy snacks can. Protein is a macronutrient that keeps you feeling satiated for a while. Make sure to choose lean proteins, like boneless skinless chicken breast, 99% lean ground turkey, lean steak, eggs, egg whites, and fresh seafood.
- Fill your cart with nutritious foods. When picking a food, ask yourself, “is this healthy? Will this help me achieve my goals or affect me negatively?” Your best bet is to buy unprocessed foods (containing no added sugar, chemicals, or colorings) that are in their most natural form, like fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, plain greek yogurt, reduced fat cheese, and 100% whole grains.
Remember, what you surround yourself with becomes your reality. If you buy all junk food, you will eat all junk food. If you only buy healthy foods, that’s what you will eat. Choosing to not purchase unhealthy foods will help you to stay on track and live a healthy lifestyle. Think about these tips next time you go grocery shopping. Buy natural foods and feel the difference!