I was at my best buddies house the other day, and he was relaying the latest misinformation he had heard regarding healthy food consumption. After debunking the information, (via an angry rant) he said with exasperation, “it’s so confusing with all the conflicting information.” Laid out below are some tips I mentioned to simplify the confusion, and then some other things thought about while writing this.
1. First thing to think of when entering a grocer is to have a plan, a simple shopping list, and a mindset of not deviating from that list, with the exception of an item or two. I like to use post it notes to write the list down, so I can stick the list onto the cart and view while shopping.
2. Aim so that at least half of your shopping list has exactly one ingredient. Example, any kinds of food in it’s natural state qualifies for this: chicken, wild salmon, oats, carrots, sweet potatoes, celery, onion, bell pepper, rice, beans, olive oil, spinach, asparagus (all items with only one ingredient (the food itself is the ingredient).
3. Have a goal of only buying one sugary treat (not counting sugar that comes from fruits and vegetables). Here’s my cheat treat purchased today (really good!) I only ate three on the ride home.
4. If you keep seeing more delicious looking, but unhealthy items, it can be really tough to pass by it without adding it into your cart. Despite the item beckoning you, keep moving. The longer you sit and stare, the louder the desire for that food will be there.
The further you distance yourself from the tasty treat, the volume of this tasty treat beckoning you will lessen. Once you’re in the car, you’ll have forgotten you even wanted it.
5. Always fill yourself up with food before you go shopping. Not just a snack. In fact, if you’ve been craving something unhealthy, now is the perfect time to indulge in it, so that you’ll have the guilt and hangover from that food as you shop, thus lessoning the desire for more crap food. For example, if you’ve got a favorite unhealthy place you like to visit, (like a Chinese Buffet in a strip mall,) this would be the time to go.
6. Outside of your allowance item (or two) that is not on the shopping list, don’t buy anything with sugar in the first three ingredients. That includes any form of sugar, (corn syrup, brown rice syrup, cane sugar, honey, etc.)
7. Last, but not least, possibly the most important tip. Look at the ingredients and the nutritional breakdown (carbs fats, protein) of a food item if you’re not sure about it.
Good rule of thumb when looking at ingredients?
If you can’t pronounce it, denounce it!