I know that for some people, eating healthy is a challenge because they are not sure how to properly shop for the right foods. It is pretty clear that one of the major ways to make sure that you don’t eat crap food, is to keep crap food out of the house. But then you are left wondering, “What should I get?” or thinking that all healthy food is “gross”. But, to be honest there are many great options out there for you.
First, here are some guidelines that I go by to help make sure that I am staying on track:
1. Sugars are everywhere! And it is so hard to keep it under control because it is in things like salad dressings, many condiments, and packaged foods. I try not to add foods that have sugar as one of the first 3 ingredients. Many cereals and yogurts are packed with yogurt, even the healthy ones, so watch out for that.
2. Shop around the perimeter, this is where the fresh foods are. The aisles in the middle of the grocery store tend to have the processed and packaged foods, which are packed full of preservatives. The perimeter is where you will find fruits, veggies, dairy, and the deli.
3. The Essentials in my cart – Fruits, Veggies, Whole Grains, and Lean Protein. These are the key things that I shop for every week. It may seem pretty basic, but these can be great building blocks for a nice, healthy and tasty dinner. Try googling recipes that include the things that you buy so you can experiment.
4. I buy organic when I can (I use coupons A LOT to be able to make up for some of the pricier organic stuff I buy)
5. Don’t forget snacks! Eating clean means that you will most likely need to consume more food (not calories), as many whole foods are lower in calories. So including healthy snacks are key. I like to do fruit, nuts, greek yogurts, natural cheeses, whole grain toast (or Ezekiel Bread) with peanut butter, hummus with veggie sticks, etc.
Here is a generic list that I use:
- Salad – Kale is my absolute favorite! But I also like the big Organic containers of mixed salad greens. I would say stay away iceberg, as it has no real nutritional value
- Tomatoes, Cucumbers & Carrots – I use these on my salads
- Onions & Garlic – great to use for adding flavor to meals
- Bell Peppers & Mushrooms – these are great to add to sauces and omelets
- Apples or Pears – Easy to eat and both taste great with peanut butter or cheese for snacks
- Pineapple Spears & Mango Slices – These are nice snacks to have and satisfy my sweet tooth
- Frozen Fruit – These are perfect for my daily Shakeology
- Oranges or Grapefruits – I like to eat these as a snack
- Bananas – These are great in my Shakeology but also a great pre-workout snack, especially early in the morning (and help with cramping of the muscles after workouts)
- Hummus – Great form of protein and they have tons of flavors (makes a great mayo substitute for sandwiches)
- Quinoa – This is a complete protein, which awesome, I use it to replace brown rice and also add it to salads
- Tuna – use the ones in the pack, as they are great to add to salads and also when I travel, I can add these to a salad while on the go for more protein
- Whole Grain Bread(Sandwich Thins) – I’m not a big sandwich person, but I do use the Sandwich Thins for my Black Bean Burgers and Turkey Burgers
- Ezekiel Bread (sprouted grain) Cinnamon Raisin English Muffins – These are heavenly with Peanut Butter as a snack or breakfast
- Steel Cut Oatmeal- Buy it plain and you can add fruits and sweetener
- Plain Greek Yogurt – I love to eat this with some fruit and nuts, but also I use it in place of sour cream and mayo for dips, sandwiches, and sauces
- Avocado – I am obsessed with Avos, I use them on my black bean or turkey burgers, add them to salads, or even eat a 1/4 as a snack or a side to a southwest omelet
- Sweet Potatoes – I love to make homemade baked sweet potato fries or wedges, also bake them and top with ground turkey, salsa, black beans, and cheese…
- Agave Nectar or Stevia (natural sweeteners and better on your blood sugar)
- Eggs – I love omelets and egg white scrambles
- Ground Turkey, Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breast, Salmon, Tilapia
- Milk (Regular and Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk)
- Trop50 Orange Juice, Pomegranate Juice, and/or Lemonade (Less sugar, no added preservatives)
- String Cheese – Choose natural and full fat (yes I said full fat), because most non-fat versions replace the fat with sugars
- Skinny Pop Popcorn or Pirates Booty White Cheddar Snacks
- Nuts – Pecans, Almonds, Walnuts, Pistachios – I add them to Plain Greek Yogurt or eat as snacks, but only a small handful at a time.
- Beans – Canned Black Beans, Garbanzo Beans, Kidney Beans
- Frozen Veggies – Brocoli, Asparagus, Peppers, Brussel Sprouts, etc
- Low Sugar Fruit Sorbet (You need something sweet)
This is a basic list, but it doesn’t really veer off from this list, unless I’m making something special. I’d love to know what is in your grocery list!