One of the most difficult parts of starting a new, healthier way of living is learning how to shop differently. (This is pretty important especially on the HCG Diet which is all about jumpstarting a healthy life!)
What groceries do you buy now? What do you eat when you can’t grab fast food for every meal because that’s unhealthy? The idea of healthy shopping can feel intimidating when you’re planning your weekly trips to the grocery store.
You’re not alone. Many people feel the same frustration and aggravation when they try to make the switch to healthy shopping.
Fortunately, you don’t have to spend a fortune at the local organic food store in order to change to a healthy lifestyle. Keep reading for tips to make the transition to healthy shopping a smooth one and begin enjoying a year of good health.
Have you ever been at the grocery store, seen an item on the shelf, and thrown it in the cart even if you hadn’t planned on purchasing it? How often was that item something unhealthy? Planning helps you avoid this. Like many things, planning ahead makes healthy shopping a breeze.
Taking the time to plan out your meals is a great way to make healthy shopping simple. (This is especially important if you’re on Phase 2 of the HCG Diet!)
For example, think about what you’d like to eat for breakfast every morning. Maybe you want to have grapefruit on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. In that case, you know you need to buy three servings grapefruits per person for a week’s worth of groceries. This makes it easy to ensure each of the items you buy at the grocery store is healthy instead of impulse shopping.
Find Healthy Substitutes
One of the hardest parts about eating healthy is figuring out what to eat. When you’re used to letting a fast food menu give you your food options, it’s almost impossible to know what to eat.
The trick is to gradually substitute one unhealthy menu item for a healthy choice. Trying to go healthy all at the same time can be hard, but a slow switch makes it easy.
Try some of these healthy substitutes:
- Carrots, apple slices, and other easy-to-grab snacks instead of fruit snacks
- Popcorn instead of chips
- High fiber, low sugar cereals like oatmeal instead of sugar cereals
- Bottled water instead of soda
- Grilled chicken instead of fried chicken
You can visit WebMD to see more tips for healthy snack substitutes.
Don’t Shop When You’re Hungry
It’s easy to buy unhealthy foods when you’re hungry and everything on the shelf looks delicious. Try to go shopping for groceries only when you have a full stomach. This will also make it easier to think clearly and make good shopping decisions. (Of course, shopping with a grocery list helps avoid this problem entirely!)
Switch to Skim Milk
If you’re used to drinking whole milk, skim milk tastes like water. If you’re used to skim milk, however, it actually tastes pretty good. It’s also a lot healthier for you, saving you hundreds of calories. By gradually switching to skim milk, you’ll teach yourself to drink healthier without noticing too much of a difference. Simply buy 2% for a few weeks, then 1%, then go to skim. If you drink two cups of milk per day for a year (either with cereal or by itself), you’ll save 43,800 calories by switching from whole to skim! That’s 12.5 lbs worth of calories!
Healthy Shopping Cheat Sheet
Need some help knowing which foods are healthy and which foods you should avoid? Here’s list of low fat foods from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute:
- Fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt, cheese, and cottage cheese
- Light or diet margarine
- Egg whites/egg substitutes
- Whole-wheat sandwich breads, bagels, pita bread, English muffins
- Soft corn tortillas, low-fat flour tortillas
- Low-fat, low-sodium crackers
- Plain cereal, dry or cooked
- Rice, pasta
- White-meat chicken or turkey (remove skin)
- Fish and shellfish (not battered)
- Beef: round, sirloin, chuck arm, loin, and extra-lean ground beef
- Pork: leg, shoulder, tenderloin
- Dry beans and peas
- Fresh, frozen, canned fruits in light syrup or juice
- Fresh, frozen, or no-salt-added canned vegetables
- Low-fat or fat-free salad dressings
- Mustard and catsup
- Jam, jelly, or honey
- Herbs and spices
As you can see, the tips to healthy shopping all come down to being mindful at the grocery store. Think about what you’re buying. Come prepared to the grocery store and stick to your shopping list. Healthy eating starts with healthy shopping, and with a little bit of planning and discipline, you can do it. Healthy shopping is just one of the ways you can make sure you’re part of the 8% that succeed in 2013. Start shopping healthy the next time you go for groceries.