Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Eating Healthy: Part 1 (Grocery Shopping)

Eating healthy is the easiest way to improve your health but searching the web for healthy ways to eat can consume hours if not days of your life. In my opinion, the best start to healthy eating is a healthy grocery list so I set out to find the "must adds" (and the "skip it") foods to get my weekly shopping list started. (I concentrated on on medical and health websites when researching.) Keep in mind, eating habits don't change over night so this will take time!

MUST ADD these to your grocery list:

The Mayo Clinic list these as top 10 foods:
* Almonds
* Apples
* Blueberries
* Broccoli
* Red beans
* Salmon
* Spinach
* Sweet potatoes
* Vegetable juice
* Wheat germ

Additional "good adds"
*Butternut Squash
*Grape Tomatoes (Tomatoes in general)
*Bok Choy (Chinese Cabbage) or Cabbage
*Citrus Fruit, Pomegranate, Apricots, Kiwi, Avocados, Raspberries (berries in general), Cantaloupe, Bananas...
*Watercress and Arugula
*Dried Beans (Beans in general)
*Edamame (young soy beans)
*Seafood (in general)
*Lowfat/Non-fat, Low Calorie Yogurt
*Oats (Oatmeal)
*Whole-grain rye crackers (usually called crispbreads)
*Quick-cooking or regular brown rice (more nutritious than enriched white rice)
*Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah or kee-no-uh)-can be used in place of rice, couscous or any other grain
*Olive Oil
*Onions & Leeks
*Brazil Nuts (nuts are generally full of essential vitamins, minerals and fiber)
*Pumpkin Seeds
*Skim Milk
*Cranberry Juice (low calorie or unsweetened)
*Unsweetened Natural Tea

Things to SKIP (don't worry - substitute suggestions included!)
*Chips (substitute with Rice/Popcorn Cakes)
*Non-dairy topping i.e. Cool Whip (substitute vanilla yogurt)
*Doughnuts (substitute with Whole Grain Bagels)
*Alfredo Sauce (substitute with red sauce or a homemade, low fat version of the Alfredo sauce)
*Traditional pasta (substitute with whole grain pasta)
*Sausage (substitute with turkey sausage)
*Fried Chicken/Chicken Nuggets (substitute with grilled/boiled/baked chicken - use fiery spices and grill to enhance flavor)
*Processed cheese (substitute with the real thing - in moderation)
*White bread/buns (substitute with whole grain wheat bread/buns)
*ALL frozen/prepackaged "restaurant appetizers" and breaded products ("In-a-hurry" substitutes: frozen stir-fry with grilled chicken or shrimp, precooked grilled chicken with microwave brown rice/veggies...)
*TV Dinners (If you must - watch labels for calorie, fat, sodium and nutritional facts!)
*Frozen Pizza (If you must, watch labels and chose varieties such as DiGiorno Harvest Wheat Thin Crispy Crust Supreme Pizza)

I once heard that if you shop only the outer ring of the grocery store and the "natural foods" isle, you will save yourself from the temptation of "bad foods" and I think (looking at the list above) there is some truth to this idea.

What to do with these things once you have them home? As I find good/easy recipes for these foods, I will post them!

If one oversteps the bounds of moderation, the greatest pleasures cease to please.

*It is understood that many of these items do not fall into everyone's budget - but if you pick and choose what's on sale each week, you can do quite well! Watch for my post on saving $!

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