Healthier eating starts at the grocery store
If you're thinking about becoming healthier in 2019, a good place to start is by improving the relationship you have with your grocery store.
Food temptations are everywhere, but a saying we often share with our clients is -- "If you don't buy it, you won't eat it."
Keep your grocery shopping streamlined and healthy with the following tips.
Plan ahead. Think about the meals you'll be making over the next few days and tally the foods and ingredients that you'll need to make those meals. A little planning will not only ensure you'll have what you need to prepare your meals, but it will give you the opportunity to evaluate and enhance the meals you make from week to week.
Stick to your list. Once you have your list, be strict and don't stray from it! Of course, there may be an item or two that wasn't on the list that you genuinely forgot, but use sound reasoning. Never grab something off the shelf just because it looks good in that moment. Remember, if you don't buy it, you won't eat it.
Shop the perimeter. It's true that most of the freshest and healthiest foods lie on the perimeter of the store. This includes fruits, vegetables, fresh meats, and other perishable items. Try to get 75 percent of your food items from this perimeter area. As you do venture inward through the aisles, remember to stick to your list and avoid temptations.
Know your ingredients. As previously mentioned, if you get most of your foods from the perimeter of the store, you'll have a pretty good idea of the ingredients in those foods. For example, an apple doesn't have an ingredient list, because an apple is an apple. It's in its most natural form and therefore has no added ingredients.
On the other hand, when you're strolling up and down the aisles, you'll find many foods in boxes, cans, and bags, and these foods likely contain several ingredients. As a general rule -- if you can't pronounce it, don't eat it. Steer clear of foods that have long and complex ingredient lists.
Always add variety. If your grocery list looks the same every week, you're probably not taking the time to plan ahead and you can easily get burned out on the same boring foods.
Get out of your comfort zone by trying some new recipes and put the fun back in cooking again. Eating foods that are in season, for example, will help you get variety from month to month while ensuring you're getting an array of nutrients as well.
Some vegetables that you'd never eat as a side dish may taste great in a green smoothie. Find ways to keep changing it up.
Putting in the extra effort to improve your grocery shopping can have long-lasting and positive health benefits. You just have to make the decision to do it!
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• Joshua Steckler is the owner of Push Fitness, a personal training studio located in Schaumburg specializing in weight loss, muscle toning, and nutrition. Contact him at PushFitnessTraining.com.