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Looking and feeling healthy is achieved by an active process of becoming aware and making choices. Healthy grocery shopping can be overwhelming due to all of the food options to choose from and not knowing where to start, or what to look for. Use the following guidelines to help you with your grocery shopping trips and contact 180Physique today for a personal step-by-step grocery store tour with a Registered Dietitian!
When you go grocery shopping, keep the following 10 tips in mind:
- Always make a list and stick to it: This will help you get what you need and avoid what you DON’T need. Assess what you already have and what you need.
- Avoid shopping when you’re hungry: You will likely overbuy on items that you wouldn’t normally purchase. Save money and the future calories by eating before you shop.
- Plan out a weekly menu: Know what you plan to eat for the week and what to buy to prepare it. You’ll save time and be proud of yourself for sticking to a plan
- Establish a grocery list budget and stock up on coupons: When you have a budget, you know your limits and find ways to save. You can save up to 20% with coupons! So start clipping away and only use coupons on items you already plan to buy.
- Go shopping solo: Kids and family are great but it may be wise to leave them behind when you shop. Let’s face it, food is appealing and if something catches our eye, we want it. Avoid adding extra to the basket.
- Read the Nutrition Facts Label: Even if you think something is healthy, always check the nutrition facts label for confirmation. Don’t get caught up in label claims like “low-fat” or “reduced calories.” Many times when something is reduced or omitted, another nutrient is added or increased to make up for it; so ALWAYS check the label and compare. Refer to the “Overview of How to Read the Nutrition Facts Label” handout to learn how to properly read a label.
- Focus on shopping around the perimeter first: This is where you’ll find most of the healthy food. Fill your basket with the foods that are good for you and try to avoid the center aisles where most of the packaged foods that have a long shelf-life are.
- Avoid the “P” Foods: Precooked, pre-sliced and prepared. These foods tend to be high in sodium and other preservatives. You also save money by avoiding these foods because the prices are marked-up due to the extra labor that went into creating these foods.
- If you can’t pronounce it, AVOID it: Make it a rule of thumb that if you can’t pronounce what’s on the food label, don’t purchase or eat it. Many of these long unrecognizable words are excessive additives and artificial ingredients that have no nutritional benefit. Food manufacturers add these to products for non-health purposes such as extended shelf-life.
- Apply the 5&5 Rule when looking at ingredients: Ingredients are listed in order by weight so the first five ingredients should be healthy, real food not artificial ingredients & additives. If you see any of the following listed in the first five ingredients, don’t buy it. These ingredients are: anything “enriched”, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils, refined sugars, high-fructose corn syrup and saturated fat. A great rule of thumb is to aim for products with five ingredients or less
Organic vs. Natural What’s the Difference?
It can get confusing to know the difference between the terms “Organic” and “Natural” because these claims are showing up more and more frequently.
According to USDA Guidelines:
The term "Organic” refers to foods that have been produced and processed without the use of commercial chemicals such as fertilizers, pesticides, synthetic substances that enhance color or flavor. Organic foods must meet legally regulated production standards in order to use the term organic.
The term “Natural” refers to a product that has been minimally processed, does not contain artificial preservatives, and does not have artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, preservatives, additives, artificial or synthetic ingredients. The USDA’s guidelines for the term “natural” are voluntary and can be used without reference to any true standard. There is no certification, inspection, or compliance required by these regulations. It is required that a brief statement explaining the term “natural” appears next to the claim.
So… it sounds like “Organic” is the more valid term and claim to look for.
What should I have in my house on a regular basis to make optimal choices for my health and wellness?
Organic if you can – Our world is becoming more and more tainted with dangerous chemicals. In an attempt to increase production and capture bigger market shares, the use of fertilizers, pesticides, food additives; such as dyes and preservatives has become so prevalent that “artificial ingredients” are now outnumbering “natural ingredients” on many food content labels. It is the opinion of many experts that this ever-increasing use of artificial fertilizers, pesticides, and chemical additives has a direct correlation to the ominous rise in cancer rates and other health problems.
Organic foods are rapidly becoming recognized as a logical alternative in this chemical-laden world. The focus on environmentally-sound agricultural methods and “sustainable” agriculture is getting the attention of many who are now concerned about what they’re eating as well as the environment. Organic food is a reliable and safe alternative to the issues regarding conventionally grown, processed and packaged foods.
- Whole Eggs
- Egg Whites
- Skinless, boneless chicken or turkey breast (3 to 4 oz for women and 4 to 6 for men, palm size, 1 inch thick)
- Deli chicken and turkey that is not processed, added to, or pressed/formed together
- Ground lean meats (beef, chicken breast, turkey breast) – in moderation
- Lean meats with the fat trimmed
- Sirloin or Filet
- Pork Chops
- White Fish (Halibut, Tilapia)
- Salmon & Tuna
- Lentils – any type of natural beans or legumes
- Edamame – soybeans
- Oatmeal – Steel cut or Old Fashioned Rolled oats with no added sugars or flavors. Oat Bran. (½ cup dry)
- Brown Rice
- Brown Rice pasta
- Sweet potatoes & Yams
- Whole grain & sprouted bread (i.e. Ezekiel sprouted bread)
Fibrous Carbohydrates, Fruits and Vegetables:
- Fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables (avoid canned): recommend you have with a serving of protein.
- Green, leafy lettuce (no iceberg)
- Bell peppers
- Green beans
- Mango/kiwi and other tropical fruits
- Olive oil
- Pressed vegetable oils
- Sesame oil
- Coconut oil
- Roasted nuts like almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts etc. (2oz – about 24 almonds)
- Natural nut butters
- Almond milk
- Flaxseed and Flax oil
- Chia seeds
- Fat free milk
- Fat free or low fat plain yogurt
- Fat free or low fat Greek yogurt
- Fat free or low fat cottage cheese
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Rice Vinegar
- Braggs Aminos soy protein – to replace soy sauce. (drops)
- An array of fresh and/or bottled herbs and spices for seasoning
- Stevia (natural zero calorie sweetener)
- Mustard (yellow, Dijon, spicy, avoid honey mustard)
- Organic, sugar-free tomato sauce
- Raw honey
- Zero calorie butter spray
WHAT FOOD SHOULD I AVOID HAVING IN MY HOME ON A REGULAR BASIS?
Wellness in an on-going lifestyle which requires taking responsibility & making healthy choices.
- Palm, palm kernel or sunflower oils
- Products with Hydrogenated oils – Fractioned is fine but limit this too
- Products with High fructose corn syrup
- Table Sugar
- Anything fried
- Fruit juices
- Refined sugary cereals
- Bottom feeder seafood, like lobster and shrimp
- Nothing with bleached, unbleached or enriched flour - always whole grain.
- Frozen dinners and other packaged foods (highly processed)
- Soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages.
- Alcohol- get when you are having a social gathering not for regular use.
- White sauces
- Processed cheeses