Diet and the way you choose to eat it the most important aspect of fitness. Looking great and feeling healthy comes from a combination of regular exercise and good eating habits.
Best way to start eating healthy is stocking your kitchen and pantry with the right foods. It will be hard at first, especially if it is a big change for you, but your body will thank you later!
First rule of thumb when shopping at the grocery store is you want to try shopping on the outer perimeter of the grocery store. The interior aisles are kept stocked with processed foods containing added salt, refined sugars and chemical preservatives.
My first stop in the grocery store is the produce aisle. Veggies and Fruits are a must. They are the foundation for creating and living a healthy lifestyle. Your best choice is to choose fresh and organic. Sometimes that is not always a possibility, so frozen veggies are perfectly fine. Choosing organic reduces the risk of exposure to pesticides and chemical fertilizers.
Here are a few produce items that are always on my shopping list.
- Apples – who doesn’t love apples! Probably one of my all time snacks is peanut butter and sliced apples.
- Bananas – love adding in bananas to baking recipes for that natural sweetness.
- Carrots – another favorite snack, baby carrots and hummus. Ymmmmm
- Berries – I stock up on blueberries, strawberries and raspberries, such a great addition to my protein pancakes in the morning!
- Dark Green Leafy Vegetables – Kale and Spinach are a must, they are a good foundation for building a better tummy!
- Sweet Potatoes – The possibilities are endless with these little guys! You can the benefits from antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and better blood sugar regulation from basic recipes. I love my sweet potato apple hash in the morning, or even cooking up some sweet potatoes “fries” for a dinner side.
- Bell Peppers – Bell peppers are rich in antioxidants and packed with vitamin C, E and K. I love mixing in green, red, yellow and orange bell peppers into a couscous salad!
- Garlic – Just a great flavor addition!
- Onions – Red onions helps speed up your metabolism and pretty much goes with any dish!
Beans and Legumes are a healthy and budget friendly protein source! Although I’m not huge on buying them very often, beans, legumes and edamame are great to add to your shopping list.
Lean Proteins are a great source that builds lean muscle. Again, as always, try choosing organic when the option is available. Here is a list of items that are always on my weekly shopping list:
- Lean Ground Turkey – I absolutely LOVE ground turkey! The recipes are endless, meatloaf, addition to eggs in the mornings, turkey burgers!
- Chicken Breast – Stating the obvious, but getting the protein without the fat found in other meats by choosing chicken.
- Wild-Caught Salmon, Tilapia or other Fish – Salmon is good in moderation, I try and eat atleast one fish meal per week.
- Eggs – Eggs are packed with protein and considered a superfood. Choose egg whites over whole eggs, and cage free when the option is available.
Adding in nutrient and fiber rich whole grains to your grocery list over white flour which is stripped of nutrients, which leads to empty calories.
My top source of grains are Quinoa, Jasmine Brown Rice or Wild Rice, Whole Wheat Bread, Whole Wheat Pasta (in moderation) and Whole Wheat Tortillas for those egg white breakfast burritos in the moorings!
Although I do try and avoid it, Canned and Jarred foods do seem to make meal prep a bit easier. Make sure you are reading the labels to avoid extra preservatives.
- Marinara sauce – stocking up on low sodium, no sugar added brand on hand is great for making home made pizza!
- Chicken Broth - is the foundation for several clean and healthy recipes.
- Sun-Dried Tomatoes – I use sun-dried tomatoes in my turkey burgers
Baking my own protein bars and other pastry items is something I absolutely love to do. Most of which, baked goods are fine in moderation. Always choose whole wheat pastry flour over white flour. Whole Wheat Flour has a lighter texture and retains most of the nutrients unlike the white version
Nuts and Seeds are small but mighty offering omega-3 fatty acids to unsaturated fats. I will always have a pack of nuts and seeds at my desk for a quick snack while I’m at work. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Chia Seads
- Flex Seeds
Oils & Condiments are important to your grocery list for all the new healthy recipes you’ll be making!
Some good choices for oils & condiments are:
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Walnut Oil – I have not tried this one, but it is part of the nutrient rich oil family
- Coconut Oil – I could write an entire blog on just coconut oil! I can’t live without it!
- Balsamic Vinegar – Great foundation for any salad
- Mustard – Choose a no-sugar added brand when available
- Ketchup - buy a naturally sweetened variety or low sugar brand
Herbs & Spices – if growing your own seems impossible, check out the produce section of your favorite grocery store when in need of some fresh herbs
Sweeteners are SO important to a clean diet. Processed sugar is a fast way to add in those extra lbs and completely wreck your heath. Use natural sweeteners when baking and cooking and you will see a world of difference. A few of my favorites:
- Sugar Free Maple Syrup
- Coconut Palm Sugar
Milk is something I really only use in recipes, but whether you just want a giant glass to drink or as an addition into your favorite baking dish, try using Almond or Coconut milk as an alternative. Almond milk is rich in antioxidants, it’s my go to!