Any healthy eating plan begins at the grocery store. Learning to make smart choices when shopping for food is the key to the success of any healthy diet plan. Learning to recognize the healthiest, freshest foods is a skill every grocery shopper must learn.Of course, the logical place to start the healthy shopping trip to the grocery store is at the produce section. Most large modern supermarkets have huge produce sections, often taking up a large portion of the store. It is not unusual for the produce section alone to contain hundreds of choices, so it can be difficult to know the best foods to choose.
When it comes to the produce section of the supermarket, however, it is difficult to make a bad choice. That is because almost all fruits and vegetables are healthy, low in calories and delicious. While there are some high fat fruits and vegetables, such as avocados, they are the exception rather than the rule.
The most important thing to remember when shopping for fruits and vegetables is the old saw that variety is the spice of life. Trying a variety of different fruits and vegetables, including some you may never have heard of before.
Eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables is a great way to enjoy a healthier diet without becoming bored. Many new diets fail due to boredom, but eating a large number of different fruits and vegetables every day can virtually eliminate that problem.
One way to introduce this variety into a healthy diet is to seek out fresh, in season produce on every trip to the grocery store. Not only are fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables usually less expensive, but the changing variety will help guarantee fresh new recipes week after week.
Of course the produce section is not the only place to find healthy, nutritious foods. The other parts of the supermarket are also full of both good and bad choices. For instance, when choosing bread, it is best to buy whole grain breads and avoid the more processed varieties. The same is true of baked goods. Whole grain products contain large amounts of fiber and other nutrients that the more refined baked goods may lack.
Important healthy eating decisions need to be made in the meat section of the grocery store as well. This means buying the leanest cuts of meat you can find. In addition, extra fat should be trimmed from the edges of steaks, roasts and chops. You can do this trimming at home, or, better yet, have the butcher do it at the store. After all, why pay extra for what you won’t use?
Even though poultry is generally low fat, not all poultry is created equal. Some varieties, like duck and goose, contain significant amounts of fat. A roast goose or duck can be great for Christmas or other special occasions, but these meats are generally too greasy to be used for everyday meals.
Even low fat poultry like chicken breasts can benefit from some additional trimming. Removing the skin from chicken significantly cuts the amount of fat and calories it contains. In addition, using low fat white meat chicken instead of fattier dark meat is a smart move.
When buying ground meats, always try to buy the leanest varieties you can afford. Ground beef that is 97% lean is a good choice. In addition, ground turkey or ground chicken makes a good, lower fat substitute for ground beef, and it can be used in all recipes that call for ground beef, including tacos, burritos, barbeque, burgers, etc.
One important note about ground turkey and ground chicken, however. Processed ground poultry products can often contain surprisingly high levels of fat. That is because manufacturers often grind up unwanted skin and fat in addition to the lean turkey or chicken. This is a particular problem with lower priced varieties of ground chicken and turkey, so it pays to read the labels and monitor fat content carefully.
Learning to be a smart shopper is a vital part of enjoying a healthy lifestyle.. No matter what your reason for eating healthy, learning to shop smart and buy healthy foods is an essential first step.