Grocery Shopping

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Grocery shopping can be daunting if you are trying to eat healthy but don't know what you should be looking for.  When I made the decision to get in shape and eat healthy, I wanted someone to take me by the hand and show me EXACTLY what to buy, what to eat and how to make it. A lot of labels are misleading and if you aren't careful, you could end up buying foods that are working against your goals. Hopefully, this will guide you to choose foods that help you to attain that strong and sexy body you want.

Pre-Grocery Shopping Preparation

You want to step yourself up for success. There are certain situations that dramatically increase your chances of ending up with a shopping cart full of the type of foods that end up stored in your butt and thighs.

1. Eat A Nutritious Meal Before You Go Grocery Shopping
When you go to the store on an empty stomach and hungry, you will be very likely to subconsciously grab the worst foods for you. Typically these are the foods full of sugar that spike your insulin levels fast, or the ones that are laden with fats (and/or transfats) that fill you up quickly but wreak havoc with your health.

Make sure you have eaten properly before going to the store. Have low glycemic index carbs like brown rice, yams or oatmeal combined with a lean protein like chicken, turkey or lean fish, and then some vegetables.

2. Do Not Go Grocery Shopping When You Are Feeling Down 

Don't go grocery shopping when you are sad or emotional. If you do, you will be very likely to grab "comfort foods" Leave it to another day, when you are feeling better, or give someone else a grocery list and have them shop for you.

Beware Of Food Labels!

One of the biggest reasons people gain weight in fat when they are trying to lose weight is because they are being mislead by labels . How often do you hear that someone is trying to lose fat, but instead she gained fat and doesn't have a clue why that happened as she was "eating healthy"?
The companies producing the foods are misleading you to think a food product is healthy, when it is really (absolutely) not. The food production companies realized people are trying harder and harder to lose that stubborn fat. Because people are trying to buy more health conscious foods, companies market their products as "healthy" to increase sales.
They use clever manipulation of words, and words only. They use words which are not lies, but that are absolutely misleading, to make their food products LOOK healthy, or healthier than before. Don't believe me? Not a problem, I will give you a few examples:

Example #1: Fat Free, Preservative Free Cookies
Did you see the boxes of cookies (even chocolate ones) lately? They will read: "Fat free, gluten free, no preservatives or artificial flavours". Is this true? Yes, it is. But, if we look on the back side of the package to read the ingredients ourselves, what does it say? Most probably the first word you'll find will be SUGAR, or high glucose-fructose corn syrup. So it's pretty much all sugar! Is this healthy? absolutely not.

Example #2: Low Carb Cookies Or Candy Bars
This is the reverse of the first example. Here what they do is that there are fats in the cookies, but glycerine and maltitol are used to sweeten them. Though these two ingredients do not have an impact in blood sugar levels, they do have calories! However, the FDA allows such products to claim they are "low carb".
In addition, if you look at the fats contained in these foods, they are typically partially hydrogenated oils (transfats)! This is neither healthy nor will it help you attain your fitness goals.

Tips To Making Sure That What You Are Buying Is Good

1. Look At The Ingredients!
The first ingredient on an ingredient list is the one which is most present in the food product; the last on the list is the one with the lowest percentage of all ingredients of the food products. This is the only way you can see exactly what is inside everything!
Even if the package reads "Transfats free" if you read on the ingredients list that there is some "partially hydrogenated oil" then that means that each serving may have up to 0.4 grams of trans fats.
By law, companies can get away with that. The unfortunate situation is that if you have more than one serving then those transfats can start adding up quickly and these fats wreak havoc on your health and your physique!
A good rule is to stick to foods with only 1-5 ingredients in them- the less the better!

2. Focus On Choosing Natural Foods
Always try to use natural foods. Canned or pre-prepared foods usually contain too much fats, sodium and sugars. For example your typical deli meats are too high in fats (as we learned in the examples above), are way too high in sodium, and even are added with sugar to sweeten them!

How To Cook Your Food

You can have chicken breast, rice and vegetable as a meal, all in the right proportion, and still have a non-nutritious, unhealthy and even fattening meal. How is this possible? If you don't prepare foods the right way you can inadvertently add too many fats, sodium and sugars to what should be a healthy meal and this will have a counter effect on your body, instead of achieving the physique you would like to achieve for yourself.

The right way to cook your food is by grilling or steaming it, or by baking it in fat free Pam spray.

1. Grilling Your Food
By grilling your food, you don't need oil or butter to prevent the food from sticking to the pan, since in or on a grill, food doesn't stick.
2. Steaming Your Food
By steaming your food (think of vegetables), you are keeping as much nutrients in the food as you can. For example, after boiling broccoli in a pan with water, have you seen how the water turns green? Those are the nutrients that got lost in the water.

3. Baking Your Food
By baking food in a pan with fat free Pam spray, you can bake your food without the added calories and bad fats from heated oil or butter. This is also a great way to prepare your food.

How & When To Eat Which Foods & Why

It is very important, to know what kind of food is great or not good in the morning, before or after a workout or before going to bed. The time of the day does matter when it comes to eating.

Pre-Workout Meal Foods
A pre-workout meal for example can be very different than a post-workout meal. For example, it's ok to have good fats before a workout, but absolutely not immediately after a workout.
Good fats, such as extra virgin olive oil, fish oils or flax seed oil are good as they slow down the digestion and nutrient uptake in addition to providing you with Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) that not only provide multiple health benefits but also help you lose fat and gain muscle tone.

Post-Workout Meal Foods 
However, immediately after a workout, you need to replenish your body with protein and some higher glycemic (fast released) carbs. So you don't need good fats to slow down the uptake of the nutrients as your body needs carbohydrates and proteins as fast as possible!

Morning And Evening Time Meal Foods 

It's good to have medium carbs and medium-high protein in the morning, while it's better to have medium-high protein and none-very low simple carbs in the evening before going to bed.
Low good fats can be ok before going to bed, but absolutely not for breakfast. This is because, at night you don't need energy, since you'll be going to bed soon. The energy you don't burn gets stored as fat! Carbohydrates and good fats give you energy but because at night you don't need them, it is best to reserve them for the morning time and the other times I just described above.

You are What You Eat

You've heard the saying, "You are what you eat." There is a good point being made there. Imagine eating a little something in the morning, grab a snack later, have a sandwich at lunch, whatever you can find nearby in your lunch break, to snack a little until dinner, after which a few bites here and there won't be left out before going to bed. This way, there is no thought about the right food at the right time, the right preparation, quantities, etc.
There is no real plan about what to eat when. It is not under control. If you follow such a haphazard plan, then I guarantee you that your body will not be under your control.

Apply This Knowledge!
It always takes some knowledge, willpower and discipline to know what you want and actually do it too. Now that you know some of the important knowledge to achieve the body of your dreams, it's up to you to add willpower and discipline in the mix, to have those results you desire.

But you're still thinking...ok what the heck do I buy?!  Here's a sample grocery list for you:

  • Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast
  • Tuna (water packed)
  • Fish (flounder, tilapia, halibut)
  • Shrimp
  • Extra Lean Ground Beef or Ground Round (92-96%)
  • Protein Powder
  • Egg Whites or Eggs
  • Top Round Steaks or Roast (aka Stew Meat, London Broil, Stir Fry)
  • Top Sirloin (aka Sirloin Top Butt)
  • Beef Tenderloin (aka Filet, Filet Mignon)
  • Top Loin (NY Strip Steak)
  • Flank Steak (Sir Fry, Fajita)
  • Eye of Round (Cube Meat, Stew Meat, Bottom Round , 96% Lean Ground Round)
  • Ground turkey, Turkey Breast Slices or cutlets (fresh meat, not pre-packed cuts)
Complex Carbs
  • Oatmeal (Old Fashioned or Quick Oats)781shopping cart Grocery Shopping 911...
  • Sweet Potatoes (Yams)
  • Beans (pinto, black, kidney)
  • Oat Bran Cereal
  • Brown Rice
  • Farina (Cream of Wheat)
  • Multigrain Hot Cereal
  • Whole Grain Pasta
Fibrous Carbs
  • Green Leafy Lettuce (Green Leaf, Red, Leaf, Romaine)
  • Broccoli
  • Asparagus
  • String Beans
  • Spinach
  • Bell Peppers
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
Other Produce & Fruits
  • Cucumber
  • Green or Red Peppers
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Tomatoes
  • Zucchini
  • Fruit: bananas, apples, grapefruit, peaches, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries
  • Lemons or Limes
Healthy Fats
  • Natural Style Peanut Butter (Yes, Stir the oil into the peanut butter) or PB2
  • Olive Oil or Safflower Oil
  • Nuts (peanuts, almonds)freshfruit Grocery Shopping 911...
  • Flaxseed Oil
Dairy & Eggs
  • Low-fat cottage cheese
  • Eggs
  • Low or Non-Fat Milk
  • Water
  • Diet Soda –not too many ;)
Condiments & Misc.
  • Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce
  • Reduced Sodium Teriyaki Sauce
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Salsa (I put this on EVERYTHING!)
  • Chili powder
  • Chili Paste
  • Mustard
  • Extracts (vanilla, almond, etc)
  • Low Sodium beef or chicken broth
  • Plain or reduced sodium tomatoes sauce, puree, paste
And of course Shakeology! It has become a staple in my house!

Good luck everyone! Let me know if you need help :)