What’s in My Grocery Shopping Cart?
March 31, 2017
Whether you love it, hate it or are indifferent to it, grocery shopping is a fact of life for all of us. Therefore, I wanted to share some of my key tips and strategies for grocery shopping below to help you pick nutritious foods, while still enjoying some treats and get the most bang for your buck. Please keep in mind that individuals may have their own dietary restrictions, allergies and medical needs, so my tips are based on what works for my family and myself. That said, please consult with your doctor if you have any special considerations or questions. Okay, now that we’re all on the same page, are you ready? Here we go!
FIND THE TIME: When I was working full-time in the high tech/digital media industry, the only time I could go grocery shopping was on the weekends. However, now that I’m an entrepreneur and running my own business from home, I have more flexibility on when I can go and it’s usually during the weekdays in between work meetings, conference calls, writing sessions, networking events, teaching classes, volunteering and taking and picking up my kids from school and after school activities. Regardless of your schedule, check with your local grocery store and try to pick days of the week or times of the day when you know new shipments will be coming in, so you can get the most fresh foods possible.
STOCK YOUR CART WITH FRESH PRODUCE: I always start my shopping trips in the produce aisle. I try to fill my cart with as much fresh and high-quality produce as I can since it’s so important for your overall health and to help prevent chronic diseases. I start with organic fruits such as apples, bananas, tangerines, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, watermelon, peaches, pears, plums, avocado and grapes. I then move into the organic vegetables section and choose broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, bell peppers, kale, cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, mushrooms, squash, edamame, brussels sprouts and asparagus. I love having lots of fruit options at home to serve with breakfast, lunch, snacks or dessert. I also like having a variety of vegetables that can be eaten raw with lunch, including salads, or cooked to make dinner healthier and more interesting.
LEAN PROTEINS ARE A MUST: Whether you’re a vegetarian or a meat lover, it’s very important to include a variety of proteins in your shopping cart because they’re critical for your muscles, bones, skin and tissues. My husband and two boys are meat lovers and while I eat meat, I’m perfectly happy eating vegetarian meals as well. Therefore, I stock up on organic, lean ground turkey meat, turkey burgers, boneless and skinless chicken breasts and thighs, chicken sausage, fish such as salmon, tuna, mahi mahi and shrimp, tofu, beans such as black beans, pinto beans and kidney beans and eggs. Having different protein options helps to create a variety of non-vegetarian and vegetarian meals.
DAIRY IF YOU CHOOSE: While some people are lactose intolerant or choose not to eat dairy, our family loves it and I definitely buy a decent amount of dairy products such as low fat, organic cheese (my husband and I are originally from Wisconsin and live in California, so this is a must), milk and yogurt. With two growing boys, calcium is important in our house and I try to ensure they’re getting the recommended amount each day for healthy bones and growth. Also, as a woman, I know how important it is to get enough calcium for myself to prevent things like osteoporosis later in life.
WHOLE GRAINS ARE GOOD: While there has been much discussion and debate in the nutrition and medical fields over the years about gluten, wheat, grains and carbohydrates and whether or not they’re good or bad for you, in my opinion, balance is key. While I’ve cut out a considerable amount of carbohydrates from my diet over the years since diabetes runs in my family, I don’t eliminate them completely since I’m an active person and need energy. I try to eat complex carbohydrates and whole grains with breakfast and maybe a little bit at lunch, but then stick to proteins and vegetables for dinner as much as I can. My husband tries to do the same, but for our kids, we recognize how much they need carbohydrates since they’re growing, play a ton of sports and are really active. Therefore, I buy whole grain pasta, bread, waffles, oatmeal, cereal, granola bars and brown rice, especially for them.
TREATS, SWEETS AND INDULGENCES ARE ALLOWED: In the spirit of leading a balanced life, while I do opt for cooking and eating healthy most of the time for myself and my family, I make a conscious effort not to deprive any of us from indulging and enjoying treats as well. We definitely eat out at restaurants or order in during the weekends and/or towards the end of the week and that includes having pizza, burgers, tacos, sushi, ice cream, cookies, etc. And while I don’t regularly keep cookies, cakes, chips and other junk food at home, I do buy healthy versions of treats and snacks at the grocery store such as organic ice cream that’s lower in sugar, dark chocolate, nuts, veggie chips, organic fruit snacks, whole grain crackers, natural peanut butter and almond butter, organic jelly, etc.
So there you have it. The ins and outs of what’s in my grocery shopping cart and what my family and I eat. I hope this was helpful and I hope you all find (if you haven’t already) what foods, meals and nutrition tips work for you. And after all that talk about food…I’m hungry and am signing off for today, Passion Fit Crew! Have a wonderful weekend and I’ll be back with another blog post soon. 🙂