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Savvy Grocery Shopping, Part III - How To Shop For A Healthy And Fit Lifestyle

As busy working mom myself, with school age kids in sports, that require help with homework, I know how difficult it is to put healthy meals on the table night after night and keep healthy snacks close at hand. Maintaining a healthy and fit lifestyle during this phase of life is especially challenging, but is still doable. Most of the solution is to buy the right foods in the first place. Bringing the right foods in and eliminating the 'attractive nutritional nuisances' (or at least keep them occasional/minimal) will make your job so much easier.

Here are some easy tips and tricks that will make you a superstar grocery shopper.

  • Do a little planning at the beginning of every week. Even if you do not formally plan meals, buy things that go together well. Buy protein, vegetables, and carbohydrate to round out balanced meals. Make a shopping list and take it with you. Ideally plan a time when you can get the shopping done without being rushed or harried.
  • Buy the staples that keep well when they are on sale. This will make your regular weekly shopping trips lighter and easier. Choose your regular brands that you know and trust. DO NOT choose cheap foods in order to save money; you get what you pay for.
  • Be familiar with the foods you buy by reading the ingredients. The same foods may vary vastly brand to brand. They are likely to have different ingredients and one may be good while another brand may be full of chemicals and preservatives. Please, be discerning --you are NOT a garbage can.
  • Stock your pantry with the right kinds of food to put together a meal in a snap. Even with the most careful planning, there will still be times when it all goes awry. Rather than winding up at the drive through, just have at home what it takes to throw together a reasonably healthy meal.
  • Buy adequate protein based snacks and easy to grab foods. Hard boiled eggs are excellent, budget friendly, and very easy to make and take. (I make 1 dozen at the beginning of every week.) Nitrate free sliced turkey, ham, cold roast chicken, or even jerky are excellent choices. Snacking on protein will curb appetite and stabilize blood sugar (and mood) in a way that carbohydrates based snacks wont.
  • Keep the amount of processed and convenience foods to an absolute minimum. They are laced with all kinds of chemicals and preservatives. Also, they tend to be more seductive to the taste buds because of the high salt/fat/sugar ratios which undermines the desire for healthier choices.
  • Buy food appropriate for your metabolic type. Foods that are healthy for one person may not be right for the next. Tune-in to what kinds of foods make you feel the best and stock up on those leaving the foods that sap your energy behind.
  • Buy adequate vegetables every week. Fresh is best, however frozen will do in a pinch. They can be added to soups, stir-fries, scrambled eggs, put on a sandwich, as well as being eaten as a separate dish or put in a salad. If time to cook them is in short supply, cook a lot at the beginning of the week so all you will have to do is reheat want you require for each meal.
  • Keep seasonal fresh fruit on hand. Buy just enough so that everyone in the family can have a piece or two per day. Frozen berries can be a good option make sure you always have some fruit on hand to add to smoothies, cereal, or even as a cold snack.
  • Keep healthy snacks at hand. I do not, as a rule, endorse a lot of snacking...it encourages mindless eating and undermines regular eating habits. It is essential though to have healthy stuff around, that you can also take with you, for when snacking is appropriate. Dried fruit and nuts are a great and simple example.
  • Instead of buying bottled drinks, invest in reusable containers. They can be used for water, homemade iced tea, or healthy homemade sports drinks.

A little intention goes a long way in living a healthy and fit life. The things in life we TRULY want we usually attain. It is the things we only loosely commit to that escape us. Doing a little meal planning and 'smart' shopping at the beginning of every week (Sunday for me) makes the rest of the week flow smoothly. Make it part of your weekly routine and you will be well on your way to living out your healthy and fit lifestyle.

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