Thursday, July 19, 2012

Grocery Store Tour

Okay, I promised it, so here it is…These are a few of the tips I shared during our grocery store tour!
Of course I can’t remember everything I said and I feel like this post is all over the place. I think it went way better IN the actual store, but I tried, so hopefully this helps some. If nothing else, read through, and pick a few things that you can incorporate- then start there. Healthy eating is a lifestyle, and it may not happen overnight. Baby steps are awesome, and you CAN do this!!! Refer back to this post as often as you need, and try not to feel overwhelmed.
Disclaimer: Every family is different….this is just what works for us! I’m not claiming to be a nutritionist…I have just read a lot of clean eating books and done a lot of research, so this is a mini-compilation of what I’ve learned and what works for me.
Shop the perimeter!!! I only go down the center aisles for a few things (natural peanut butter, Olive oil, spices/ground pepper), and I typically only have to stock up on these things every few trips.
Learn to read labels. You want as few ingredients as possible, and hopefully you can recognize the majority of the ingredients. The first few ingredients make up the majority of the product, so if high fructose corn syrup or sugar is one of the first few ingredients, for example, try to stay away.
Avoid packages and boxes. I try to buy as many whole, real foods as possible. Obviously that’s not always possible. My chicken/fish, peanut butter, eggs, etc. are all in “packages,” but not like pop-tarts, chips, cookies, etc. Frozen entrees are the worst! Well, along with the junk foods, of course. Even deli meat is highly processed and has a lot of sodium.
When buying bread, pasta, or wraps, I ALWAYS buy Ezekial. Most “whole wheat” breads are made with enriched flour, are bleached, etc. Ezekial products are all natural and have no preservatives. I keep them in the freezer and put them in the refrigerator when I’m ready to eat them. (They last about 2 weeks in the frig- a week or less in the pantry because they don’t have preservatives.) I’m not sure if it’s an acquired taste, but Big Jon is now on board. And seriously, for one of life’s greatest indulgences, try some Naturally More almond butter on a slice of Ezekial Whole Grain Sprouted bread.!
Watch out for “healthy” foods. If something is fat-free, sugar free, or lowfat, that means they have used some other chemical to replace whatever they left out. Food companies are very sneaky and have a lot of leeway when it comes to how they market their products, so be cautious, and be a smart shopper. Even things we assume are healthy, like juice and soup, aren’t really that healthy. Don’t be fooled by food marketing slogans.
Eat the rainbow. Try to incorporate a variety of fruits/veggies…the more, the merrier.
I know organic is expensive, so if possible, focus on trying to buy organic with the “dirty dozen.”  Other than that, I think you’re good with the regular stuff.
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Here is my typical grocery list.
This is not exactly what you have to buy, but these are the foods we like and what works for us. Obviously I don’t have to buy all of these things all the time, but these are the main foods we have in our house:
Spinach, broccoli, bell peppers, kale, cucumbers, tomatoes, celery, mushrooms, string beans, asparagus, apples, oranges, berries (usually frozen), sweet potatoes, brown rice, quinoa, ground milled flaxseed, steel cut oats, local honey, almonds, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, (all raw, unsalted), low sodium black beans & kidney beans, chickpeas, salsa, hummus, Ezekial bread and tortillas, Naturally More peanut butter and almond butter, lemon juice, Italian seasoning, olive oil (get a mister!), minced garlic, tilapia, salmon, hormone free & antibiotic free chicken breasts, canned tuna in water, plain Greek yogurt, almond milk, coconut oil, chocolate almond milk (for Big Jon), 5 dozen eggs
And one more food list I like:
{I know it’s hard to see, so here is the link to the PDF version!!}
Other Great Links:
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A few of my older posts with some really good info:

A few other tips:
  • Try preparing food different ways to find how you like it. Jonathan loves when I practically burn the asparagus and make is super crispy. Hey, it’s better than mashed potatoes or mac-n-cheese, so I’ll make it if he likes it!
  • I put salsa on EVERYTHING. It’s an excellent choice as a condiment because it’s packed with veggies and is low in calories, yet adds an AWESOME kick (especially to protein).
  • Get an olive oil mister so you don’t overuse olive oil.
  • Use the stovetop rather than the microwave.
  • Try to eat as many veggies as possible. Fruits are great too, but have a lot of sugar. If you overeat fruit and don’t burn it off, it turns to glucose and is stored as fat. A banana, for example, has around 100+ calories. That doesn’t mean do'n’t eat fruit, just be aware of the sugar content. Veggies are more filling and super low in calories.
  • I cook ALL of my protein in olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, cracked black pepper, and Italian seasoning. It just works.
  • Have a good prep day! Boil eggs, cut up veggies, grill fish/chicken, separate foods into portion sizes, etc.
  • Drink 16 oz. of water (add lemon) FIRST thing when you wake up. Eat breakfast within 30 min of waking to jump start your metabolism. You’ve been sleeping for the last 8 hours, so you’re dehydrated and your body needs food to start burning fat and get your brain going.
  • Eat every few hours, small meals, to avoid spikes in blood sugar. Your goal is to keep your blood sugar as stable as possible throughout the day. I love to snack on raw nuts if I’m hungry or between meals. I also love boiled egg whites, and DUH, peanut butter.
I know I’m super weird, but I LOVE going to the grocery store! I seriously wish I could start a business and do people’s grocery shopping for them, buying them healthy foods. I just LOVE health/nutrition, and I know since there is SO MUCH info, people feel totally overwhelmed. Hopefully this post gave you a good starting place and wasn’t too all over the place.
Happy Shopping!!!!


Melissa said...

Thanks for the post! Melissa K.

Kim Harner said...

Great post! I'm learning a lot! And really am more conscious of everything now. Thanks for sharing and being so smart & healthy! :)

P.S. I suck at blogging!

Emily Griffin said...

I will gladly have you go to the grocery store for me! You should do that on the side .. :)

Stephanie said...

What do you eat with your hummus?

*Butler, Party of 4* said...

I dip some of my veggies in hummus... :) YUM!!!

Janna Renee said...

I love grocery shopping, and especially for healthy food! I always shop the perimeter, and almost feel claustrophobic when I have to go in the center aisles. I would seriously choose grocery shopping over the mall ;)

Leslie said...

This is such a great post...I want to print it out and post it to my fridge and carry a copy in my wallet :) I am just starting to eat Eziekal bread products and having a little bit of a hard time getting used to them!

Brooke said...

I learned a lot from this post. Thank you! One thing I struggle with are healthy lunch and breakfast ideas for my children. I send a breakfast and lunch with them to school each day. Any healthy suggestions? Processed foods are easy. It helps us busy moms find a quick fix, but it is not best. I want to pick foods that will keep my children healthy. I would appreciate any ideas you have. :)

bnfunky said...

I have some questions, if you get a chance to answer!! Some might seem stupid, but I'm new to this healthy stuff.

What do you do with flaxseed? Do you put it on oatmeal? How do you incorporate it into your meals?

Same with steel cut oats?

Lastly, can you share how you marinate your chicken? I know you said super easy with italian seasoning and a few different things. Thanks!!! Love your blog! I think it is part of your calling in life...educating women in a godly way through being honest and raw and discussing fitness, marriage, betting yourself in general....these are all things that are really important to me. New to me....but really important! You are a daily read for me :)

Mystery Shopper said...

My son always loves fast-food such as hot dogs, burger and French fries. I told him to avoid those but he didn't do that. Now I used to prepare food in different ways and he loves it, so now I’m satisfied with his diet plans.

Erin @ said...

Thanks for linking to my page :) Great post!