Monday, March 7, 2011

Making Sense of the Grocery Store

Have you ever wandered aimlessly around the grocery store, reading labels and wondering what's really good for you?  What will help accellerate your weight loss?

Here's a trick.  Stay away from the aisles.  The fresh food you want is around the perimeter of the store.  Produce, meat, seafood, dairy.

My favorite grocery shopping tip is simply this:  If your great grandmother wouldn't recognize it as food, don't eat it.  It's probably had all the food processed out of it.

I eat lots of salads - and I grow my own veggies on the back patio when I can (I live in an apartment) or arrange with a friend to grow some in their garden.

Fresh fruit.  Apples, grapes, peaches, nectarines, melons.  I try to avoid the pre-cut relish trays and fruit bowls as I'm not sure of their freshness, but then again, my kids love them - and anything to help them eat more fruit and vegetables.

Meat, poultry, and seafood.  I always kind of cringe when I hear women talk about being vegetarians - ladies, we need the protein!  Get the highest quality you can afford.  Watch for chicken packs with lots of juices in the tray - they've probably been frozen and thawed.  I have had to look hard to find stores that keep their chicken truly fresh - here in Utah, good meats can be had at Sunflower or Harmon's.

Dairy.  Soy milk is a processed food - I avoid as much soy as I can (with occasional exceptions for tofu and tempe).  Milk should come from a critter - cow or goat, usually.  (I prefer raw milk, but often don't have money for it.)  Eggs should be as fresh as you can find them.  Cheeses and yogurt make wonderful snacks - just so long as it's not that silly yogurt that's had tons of sugar dumped into it along with edible fruit-like chunks.

I don't really fuss much about the "organic" label - it seems like that's just a way to push prices up on foods - and prices are rising too fast anyway.  My friends who own CSAs tell me that the organic label these days is meaningless.

Along the aisles?  I use stevia as a sweetener when I'm on protocol.  Plain oatmeal that I can sweeten to taste over pre-sweetened ones - you can get Quick Oats, which have been cut into smaller sections for faster cooking, and save a ton of money over pre-sweetened oatmeal.

Of course, food itself is loaded with emotion.  I have strong, strong feelings about food - and they start with "If I'm going to limit my calories, I'm going to make sure what I spend those calories on is the highest quality and has amazing taste."

So there you go!  Start in the produce section and work your way around the outside perimeter of the store.  Find foods that either came from the earth or had a mama, and avoid processed foods.

(H/T to EXL Fitness for the idea.  Mat Gover conducts a monthly grocery store tour.  I haven't gone yet.)

No comments:

Post a Comment