Navigating the Supermarket – Part 2

Know what to shop for in each section of your supermarket.

Produce aisle musings

Since produce does not last very long, buy only the amount you will eat for a few days. Raw vegetables, such as broccoli and cauliflower are great snacks when boredom sets in and your feel like noshing. Also, freeze fruits like blueberries for when you need a quick little snack fix. However, try not to munch on fruits all day. Many are loaded with natural sugars and we want to control our glucose levels so that we do not experience spikes in blood sugar that lead to overeating and a sluggish metabolism. A small apple in the early afternoon can be a great pick me up, full of fiber, that will not derail your efforts.

Meat, Fish, Poultry & Egg aisle musings

Stock up on sources of high quality protein. Choose the leanest cuts of red meat possible, such as top sirloin and top round. Boneless, skinless chicken and turkey breasts are excellent options. White meat fish, such as halibut, tilapia and orange roughy are certainly low calorie but high in protein. Also, do not forget the eggs. Avoid eating too many yolks, because they contain high fat and cholesterol. Instead, separate the yolk from the egg white, discarding the yolk, or use a fat free egg substitute. Eggs are one of the cheapest choices for a high quality protein.

Milk, Cheese & Yogurt aisle musings

It is certainly important to take in calcium each day; however, too many dairy products can really hinder body fat reduction. Many of today’s dairy products are so laden with hormones and antibiotics that they are no longer the “cleanest” choice. Many contain high amounts of saturated fat and are loaded with sugar. Look for varieties low in fat AND sugar, and limit your intake. Some manufacturers now make yogurt with as little as 3 grams of sugar, as opposed to the estimated 23 grams in most regular brands. Also, fat-free milk does not necessarily mean that it is a good choice. Check the sugar on these labels as well. It might surprise you to learn that one 8 oz. glass of fat-free milk has 12 grams of sugar. I have found one brand of fat-free milk with only 3 grams, so read the labels. I prefer to get my calcium by consuming leafy green vegetables and broccoli, as well as by taking a multi-vitamin. Just be sure not to skimp on getting your calcium for the day, especially if you weight train. Calcium helps build and maintain healthy bones beneath that fantastic muscle we work so hard to build.

Frozen Food aisle musings

The frozen food aisle is a great place for convenience items. Although there is an abundance of frozen, pre-packaged meals, these are not the convenience items you should stock up on. Many of these convenience meals are loaded with artificial preservatives and tons of sodium. Remember the bad gas analogy? Sure, some items are low in fat and calories, but the way our bodies process these foods, is not the same as unprocessed, more natural foods. If the item had a laundry list of unidentifiable ingredients, chances are it should stay in the freezer. Instead, look for convenience items such as frozen vegetables, pre-chopped onions and peppers for cooking and even sugar-free/fat-free frozen popsicles.

Bread, Cereal, Pasta & Rice aisle musings

Despite past emphasis on low carb diets, eating “good” carbohydrates is an essential part of a healthy meal plan for both fat reduction and muscle gain. Choose unprocessed varieties of these foods, such as natural rolled oats, brown rice, whole wheat pasta and breads (Ezekiel, a brand made by Food for Life, is a wonderful choice for these items, and the only items I will eat for bread and pasta). Try and get an equal amount of carbohydrates from vegetable and grains each day. Carbs work in conjunction with protein to, in a sense; sweep the protein into the muscles. Avoiding bad carbs, such as white flour and sugar is smart, but avoiding good carbs will do little to promote lasting fat loss and will only hinder brain function.

Legumes, Lentils & Nuts aisle musings

There are quite a variety of lentils and legumes, both dry and canned. Pinto beans, kidney beans or black beans provide fiber, folate and protein. Nuts and all natural peanut butter, where the ingredients list just peanuts and salt (no added oil), contain monounsaturated fats (healthy fats), vitamin E, selenium and protein.

Canned food aisle musings

Canned vegetables, provided that there are few preservatives added, including sodium, can be great convenience items to have on hand. They are very similar to the fresh options and sometimes contain more nutrients because their fresh counterparts tend to deteriorate quickly, losing nutrients.