Healthy Shopping List - Choose Healthy Foods At Your Grocery Store
Do you know that there is a strategy to how grocery stores are designed? The periphery, or outside areas of the store, contain perishable food items, like the dairy, meat, and produce departments. The inside aisles house canned foods, paper goods, cleaning supplies, breads and cereals. Since these items don't require refrigeration, I recommend you start shopping in these aisles first. The longer your perishable items are in your grocery cart and are not properly cooled, the more at risk they are for bacterial growth.
So, let's get started with our healthy shopping list, starting in the produce area. Both fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins and anti-oxidants, and are great sources of fiber. They are also naturally low in calories and in sodium. The newest recommendations are to eat five to nine servings a day from fruits and vegetables, so load up your cart here.
In the meat department, choose lower fat cuts of beef like sirloin, eye of round, flank or extra lean ground beef. Avoid heavily marbled, or fatty meats. Select skinless, breasted poultry over the darker cuts, like the thighs and legs. If you find that skinless cuts dry out while cooking, then leave the skin on and remove it before serving. Any type of seafood is an excellent choice, even shellfish. Cold-water fish, like salmon, swordfish and tuna are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, which help promote heart health. If you are pregnant, you need to be careful of the mercury found in many of the cold-water fish, so you should check with your physician before eating these types of fish.
Deli meats tend to be high in sodium and some can be high in fat. Choose sliced turkey or chicken breast, ham or lean roast beef. Many delis offer an "in- house" cooked poultry, which has less sodium added. Avoid salami, bologna, and pastrami cuts.
In the dairy case, look for non-fat or 1% milk. Even though a yogurt is reduced in fat, it can be high in sugar. Light, low fat yogurts that are sweetened with artificial sweeteners are better alternatives if you are diabetic or watching your weight. Look for cheeses that have less than five grams of fat per serving. Eggs are a great source of protein, but the yolk lends fat and cholesterol in your diet. Egg substitutes are made from egg whites and are a good alternative.
Look for bread and cereals that advertise they are 100% whole grain and contain at least two or more grams of fiber per serving. Choose brown rice and whole grain pastas. Beans are a great source of protein and are high in fiber and low in fat. Add them to soups, stir fry's or salads.
In the frozen case, avoid any frozen meats that have been breaded. Non-fat frozen yogurts and sorbets are good alternatives to ice cream. No sugar added and light ice cream is available for diabetics.
Always use a grocery list and never go shopping on an empty stomach. In most instances, growling hunger pains lead us straight to the unhealthy food choices in the grocery store.
By Sophie Kamveris