Shopping for the right foods is essential to eating well unless you grow most of your own food. For the rest of us, making real happy meals starts with knowing what to look for. We are going to explore smart options for bringing home the turkey bacon, literally.
It is no small task to leave the store without one munchie food… or ten. The key is to keep these foods from making it past the cash register. Remember you pay twice for unhealthy foods. Once at the store and later when you pay to fix poor health. Don’t let tempting foods sit in your pantry or fridge and stare you down every time you open the door.
Confession time: I once was an organic food denier. I didn’t believe organic food was all that different from conventional, but I now know how big the difference really is. If you are on the fence about organics, you have probably grown up without them. It is hard to tell the difference until you remove the offending food long enough to clean the body up. Conventional food is made to sell, and chemical companies have gotten good at adding the right chemicals to improve the taste and smell, but there is no mistaking how much better you will feel when you become chemical-free. Go organic for a month and see the difference.
Outsmart Cart Stow Aways
Is your stomach on empty? No one has shopped hungry without a sneaky stow away wrecking their health plans. Have a healthy snack or meal before you shop. It’s easier to pass up tempting foods if you are full.
Even better: add this tactic. While you write your grocery list remember how good you felt when you were eating healthy foods. This can inspire you to write a list your future self would be proud of. Next, bring those thoughts and the list to the store while shopping. This makes it easy to follow your best sense in the moment.
Processed or Not? That is the Question.
Most foods in the middle aisles of the store are of the processed variety. Select foods from the fresh sections such as the deli and fresh produce are at the perimeter of the store.
There are some exceptions to the perimeter rule, however. Foods that are preserved in specific ways such as pickling (olives, pickles, and sauerkraut), oil preservation (peanut butter, sun-dried tomatoes, etc), and dried foods (tea, dried fruits, and veggies) can keep well without unhealthy preservatives, but read the label to make sure there are no added chemical preservatives or toxic oils.
Eat Clean Meats
For fresh meats, certain grocery stores have good selections. Look for organic, grass-fed, pasture-raised, antibiotic-free, hormone-free (especially beef), local, and such labels. If you have never tried true organic meat before, this is an area you can really tell the difference. You may never look back. Lowball priced meats are not worth the discount. Unhealthy animals make unhealthy food and they can make you sick or unhealthy. Also stay away from farm-raised fish, especially tilapia. Tilapia can survive in very polluted water and most fish farmers choose to grow it for this reason. Wild caught fish is much better. Fish is generally easier to digest and better for the body, but it is harder to determine its origin.
Fresh Produce is for Lovers
Food lovers, that is! Do you fly through the fresh produce only selecting one or two things? Of all the foods in the store, the fresh produce is the most alive. Living people need living foods which is a good reason we don’t eat bad, rotten food and shouldn’t eat artificially preserved (processed & dead) food. So how can you even start to think about eating unfamiliar fresh fruits and vegetables? Well, fruits are quite easy, being sweet and not needing cooking. Buy a sample size of a new fruit every shopping trip and make a rule to eat it before you eat other fruits or (at least before you go shopping again). Vegetables take more commitment but are very worth it. You can break into new veggies by looking up a popular recipe that uses it. However, I believe the easiest, tastiest way to try a new veggie is to sauté it in butter. Just cut it up, warm up your fry pan to medium-low, melt organic butter first, and lightly fry it (or, for denser veggies like carrots, cover with a lid and steam it with few ounces of water in the pan and then just before the water runs out, add butter and fry it). About halfway through the process, add seasonings as seems appropriate like garlic, salt and pepper. It could be a double win if you are learning this quick, easy, and healthy method of cooking for the first time, too!