Whenever you make your weekly supermarket trips, do you consider it to be a chore or as an opportunity for you to make sound, conscious food choices? The tendency is to just grab whatever you first see stocked on the shelves without regard to nutritional content. This shouldn't be the case.
As a health-conscious individual, feeding your body with the proper food is crucial in meeting your fitness goals. As such, you should consider shopping at the supermarket as a serious responsibility not only for yourself, but your family as well.
Let us look at some tips for healthier grocery shopping:
1. Plan ahead-your job begins even before you enter the supermarket. This goes side-by-side with research you must do regarding proper nutrition. How much carbohydrates do you need? How much protein? How much good fats? How much fresh produce should be thrown in? What kinds of food must you avoid? Knowing what to buy and not to buy in advance is half the battle won.
2. Purchase plenty of fresh produce-this needs no further explanation. Fresh fruits and vegetables must be staples of your meals and snacks. They are an irreplaceable source of fibre and nutrients that your body desperately craves for.
3. Put frugality in its proper place-it is a very good practice to be frugal. You can do this by using supermarket discount coupons for better deals. However, if at the back of your mind, you tell yourself you need to save money by purchasing cheap food loaded with empty calories (such as white bread), then you are not doing yourself a favour.
Having a stable source of income should help you put your priorities in order. Would you rather splurge on unnecessary purchases such as magazine subscriptions than paying a little extra for good nutrition? Think of your body as a car: you must decide between putting in second-hand engine oil or top-of-the-line synthetic oil to rev up your engine.
The choice is yours to make.
4. Go for variety-your body may get so used to your usual fare that it may miss out on other superfoods. For instance, if you purchase brown rice regularly, why not try healthy alternatives such as quinoa or wild rice? Not only does your body benefit from the nutrients, you also give yourself a favour by making your weekly meals a sumptuous variety.
5. Check nutrition labels-common sense dictates that you be wary of expiry dates the manufacturer places on food labels. However, you shouldn't confine yourself to just expiry dates. Make a conscious effort to check sodium and sugar levels as well.
If you want to lose some weight around the middle but chug on diet sodas with at least 20 grams of sugar, then you won't really gain anything.
6. Avoid junk food-do what your grade school teacher told you by skipping junk food such as chips and sweets altogether. Go for healthier varieties such as dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa content or low-sodium sweet potato chips. By skipping junk food, you not only do your body a favour, you are also setting a good example for your children.
7. Go for good carb sources-instead of purchasing refined carbohydrate sources such as white bread, white noodles and white rice, opt for whole-grain sources such as brown rice, quinoa, wild rice, buckwheat, 100% whole-wheat bread and sweet potatoes.
8. Go for lean protein sources-your protein and meat choices should consist mostly of fish, poultry and lean meats. Eggs, nuts, seeds and legumes are also good protein sources. Choose fresh and meats and fish which are not breaded. Breaded protein sources are high in bad fats and sodium.
9. Go for good fat sources-yes, good fats are essential for optimum health. Among the wise good fat sources are fish (especially salmon and mackerel), canola oil, peanut oil, peanuts and avocados.
10. Keep beverages simple-water, low-fat milk, herbal teas and 100% fruit juices are good choices. Steer clear of sodas and regular juices that offer nothing but empty calories.
Take it upon yourself to make healthier food choices not only when you eat out, but when you go to the supermarket as well. Whenever there's progress, there's temptation. In this case, it's in the form of grocery food that can sidetrack you from making true progress in your fitness goals. By practicing discipline in the supermarket, you have taken an all-important step in attaining and maintaining good nutrition habits for years to come.
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