Eat healthy and save money: Part 1
Tuesday, February 05, 2013
At the Grocery Store
These are habits that I have developed over the years that I have been living my new healthy lifestyle. It wasn't easy for me to develop the habit even though I just new intellectually that these were good tips, but I did learn them.
1. Make a grocery list (and stick to it). Without a list when heading to the store you run the risk of spur of the moment last-minute purchases. Impulse buying is the worst. Did you know there is an entire psychology, based on real science, of how they lay out the store? Endcaps are the worst. Bring a list and put on you blinders.
2. Don’t go shopping hungry. Even with a list, if you walk in there hungry, something is going to catch your eye that you just gotta gotta gotta have. For me it was Payday bars.
3. Buy more greens. OK, I don't have anything else to add here. Spinach. kale, brussels sprouts.
4. Choose fresh or frozen over canned. Fresh is best. Frozen is pretty good I am told, but I am not always happy with what freezing does to some veggies. All the nutrients are still there, but I like the crunch of fresh. Canned has most of the nutrients too, but most have a lot of added sodium.
5. If you can’t grow it or raise it (theoretically), don’t eat it. Ingredients-wise, if you can't pronounce it, you probably can't grow it. And if you can get it fresh, say potatoes, don't buy the boxes of mashed potato flakes or au gratin potatoes.
6. Choose whole grains. When grains are processed — like, say, to become white flour used in crackers, cookies, or white bread — two essential parts of the grain (the bran and germ) are removed. The parts with all the good stuff are stripped away. Get product that say they are made from whole grains. Get brown rice, oats (I love steel cut), barley, even popcorn.
7. Avoid sweetened drinks. Added sugar … it's wasted calories. If you buy into the propaganda about HFCS, when you buy sweetened drink, you are probably getting that too. And in those drinks, what are you really drinking? WATER! Even skip the diet drinks (says the guys sipping a Coke Zero) and go for water, seltzer water of diluted fruit juice (fruit juice is devoid of the most of the good stuff that fruit has). Juicy fruit is another way to get fluids. I like grapes and oranges.
8. Eat naturally sweet food (and don’t add extra sugar to it!). So I know I mentioned it above, but it's true. Cookies call out but when you eat one or ten of those, you just fill up with calories that don't go away quickly and no bulk that will stay with you. An apple on the other hand is full of nutrients. Try a cucumber with a little olive oil and italian spices.
9. Buy in bulk and divide into portions. Yes, this strategy is mostly a way to cut down on cost. But buying in bulk — anything from vegetables, to meat, to grains — can also cut down on shopping time, so there’s more time left to prepare healthy meals.
10. Stick to the edges of the grocery store. The outer edges are typically home to fresh produce, meats, dairy, and breads. The inner aisles usually feature highly-processed items packed with extra sugar and artificial ingredients. There are always exceptions, of course, but try sticking to the 80:20 rule (80 percent of the grocery cart from outside the aisles, 20 percent from inside the aisles) for a healthier diet. The inside is where I get my rice and beans. I pretty much get everything else outside.