Ever heard of the 80/20 rule? It essentially suggests that one of the keys to weight-loss programs is watching what you eat. Whether you’re trying to bulk up or lose weight, the results will largely depend on what — and how — you eat. And it all begins with what you put in your grocery cart.
Plan your grocery shopping
Being systematic with your grocery shopping may seem tedious, but it’ll help you stick to a healthy diet and achieve your fitness goals. So don’t go grocery shopping without a list of things to buy. A list ensures your healthy grocery shopping is on course and prevents you from mindlessly putting junk in your cart.
Here are other benefits of planning your grocery shopping:
- When you have groceries at home, you resist the temptation to order fast food and greasy takeout.
- Having ingredients at home helps keep your diet healthy; studies say that home-cooked meals make you eat less processed foods and consume less sugar.
- With a fully stocked fridge and with meals planned, you never go hungry. More importantly, you don’t binge-eat at hours when you shouldn’t be, like before bedtime.
- You can keep track of staples you’re nearly running out of as well as new healthy food items you want to try.
- It saves you money. When you know what you need, it’s easier to skip the soft drink and chips aisles!
Planning your grocery shopping doesn’t mean you never indulge every once in a while. You need to be realistic, too. So if you want to put a bag of cookies in your list for your cheat days, by all means, do! Just make sure you don’t load your grocery cart with Famous Amos.
Put these healthy essentials in your shopping cart
Vegetables – Dark green leafy veggies like spinach contain immune-boosting antioxidants and fight certain types of cancer. Broccoli is a rich source of vitamins C and K. Stock up, too, on kale, carrots, cauliflower, green beans, and other non-starchy vegetables so you’ll have ingredients for satisfying veggie dishes.
Fruits – Fruits are whole foods (not refined, free from additives) and can easily make you feel full. Fructose, which are sugars found in most fruits, are relatively harmless — you’re unlikely to ingest an excessive amount of fructose from fruits. So load up on apples, bananas, berries, oranges, lemons, and others.
Carbohydrates – Carbs are essential macronutrients in foods that supply your body with energy and fuel. A steadier supply of energy can be found in carb sources like whole grains, vegetables, and legumes. Stock up on other good carbs like sweet potatoes, brown rice, oats, and quinoa. Ease up on the cupcakes.
Fats – Good fats from avocados, olives, extra virgin olive oil, nuts, and seeds can fuel you up before exercise. Bad fats (trans fats) include butter, margarine, and shortening, which are typically found in processed foods. Make space in your cart for the former.
Dairy and non-dairy items – Dairy products improve bone health, boosts muscle growth, and enhances cognitive function. High intake of full-fat dairy products, however, is bad for you. Consider replacing some dairy items on your grocery list with non-dairy items like almond milk, coconut milk, and pea milk. Consume in moderation.
Buy at grocery stores with LOTS of healthy options
In most grocery stores, fresh produce like fruits and vegetables are displayed along the perimeter of the sales floor. There’s surely one at your neighborhood’s Whole Foods Market, Kroger, and Walmart. Go straight to this section and take only brief stops at other aisles for other items on your list.
Better yet, go to stores that offer a wide variety of healthy options such as The Fresh Market. Or, visit the Mississippi Farmers Market, Doris Berry's Original Jackson Farmer's Market, Freshway Produce, Brookhaven Farmers Market, and other “farmers markets.” These places sell bountiful, fresh local produce — and you’re unlikely to be tempted to grab unhealthy munchies!
Check out our previous article about the importance of developing a fitness routine, and contact us or drop by at any of our clubs to get tips.
We talk about the many rewards of meal preps next!