It’s one thing to want to lose weight, and it’s another to actually put a plan into motion to lose weight. Dieting can be all well and good, but just one bad trip to your local grocery store can undue your eating habits for the next week or so!
Starting a healthy diet begins with learning how to successfully navigate your grocery store. Just like an explorer in the wilderness, knowing what you can eat and where you can find it is the secret to surviving a trip to your grocery store without loading up on junk food.
Rule No. 1: Never shop on an empty stomach. You know exactly what I’m talking about. You forget to eat before you go into the grocery store. You go in for just a few items and you come out with a smorgasbord full of naughty treats and snacks plus a full fried chicken meal for dinner. Shop only on a full stomach. Plan this one out. It’s very important for your diet that you never ever shop when you are hungry. Not only does it save your diet, but it also saves your pocketbook.
Rule No. 2: Shop only with a list. Treat the grocery store like a battle field. You can’t just go in there all willy nilly and expect to come out unscathed. You need a list that details exactly what you need. Just a few extra minutes of planning before you go in can save you from wandering aimlessly down one of the junk food aisles. Even better, if you know the layout of your grocery store, try grouping your items by department, so you can get in and get out that much quicker.
Rule No 3: Skip the processed foods. If food comes in a box, chances are it’s not going to help you with your diet. Processed foods are usually crammed full of immense amounts of sugar and sodium…nothing your healthy diet needs that’s for sure. It’s not rocket science… stick to the fresh foods and your diet will thank you. Fresh fruits and vegetables, meats and fish. All these can give you the vitamins and minerals you need for a healthy diet. Something to think about… if your current shopping cart has more than 50 percent of food that is in boxes or cans… you definitely need to take this rule seriously.
Rule No 4. Don’t venture into the aisles. Think about it…where can you always find the fresh foods? Fruits, vegetables and meats are always found around the perimeter of the store. The center aisles have the food that can stay on the shelf for well… years it seems. If you keep away from the middle aisles and stick to the perimeter, you’ll do much better with your shopping.
Rule No. 5. Consider the organics. I know, they are much more expensive than regular foods, but consider that they are grown without harmful pesticides and handpicked and you realize why you have the extra costs. Now, you don’t have to buy everything organic. Certain foods it doesn’t matter because of the thick exterior. Bananas, avocados, and sweet potatoes are all safe to by conventional. However, when it comes to fruit and vegetables that don’t have the protective skin such as peaches and apricots, organic is the best. They have found more than 29 different kinds of pesticides on one peach alone.
Rule No. 6. Don’t discount frozen foods. OK, we did say that fresh foods are the best for you, but we do understand that this isn’t always a possibility. When you can’t eat fresh, frozen is better than canned. Keeping a couple bags of frozen fruits and vegetables can help you out when you’re in a pinch. Just about any kind of frozen vegetable can be thrown into a soup at the last minute to make a great healthy meal in no time.
Rule No. 7. Sometimes canned is better. Yes, I know, we just said that fresh foods are the best, but there is one exception to this rule – tomatoes. Tomatoes are great to keep canned in your pantry because they actually have been shown that when they are canned, the amounts of antioxidants in them are increased. That’s because when they are canned the antioxidants in them are concentrated. Canned tomatoes can be added to just about anything. Throw them into a stew or a chili to get the flavors really going in your favorite dish.
Rule No. 8. Pay attention to beverages. You may not realize it, but calories can really add up in your drinks. Just one soda can equal 200 calories. Instead of drinking your empty calories away, you could have eaten a healthy snack that would have actually given you energy instead of just a sugar rush. Stay away from full fat mils as well. While there are health benefits to drinking milk, full fat milk has loads of calories that you simply don’t need. It’s great to drink milk, but opt for the fat free skim milk instead.
Rule No. 9. Go for whole wheat. You know you heard it before; white bread does nothing for you. That goes for anything made with bleached and processed flour. In today’s market there are so many tasty alternatives for you to choose from. Instead of white bread, go for a whole grain wheat bread. Instead of white rice, choose brown rice. Instead of regular pasta, try the whole wheat versions. You may even find that you like these healthier versions better. They can usually be found right next to their unhealthy counterparts.
With these 9 simple rules in mind, you should find that you will be well equipped with a plan for your next trip to the grocery store. By having a battle plan when you go to the grocery store, you’ll find it much easier to avoid any last minute temptation or naughty impulse to buy a quart full of ice cream. Live by these nine rules and you should have no problem sticking to your diet.
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~ Karen Ficarelli
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