Your Guide To A Healthy Grocery List
Grocery shopping may feel intimidating for those seeking to change their habits. Here are a few tips to help you steer your way through the aisles.
You may well be motivated to change your lifestyle and start eating healthy, but unless you get rid of the crisps and sweets peaking through your pantry, the goal may seem harder to commit to. Wisely choosing what to put in your trolley whilst grocery shopping will be your first step towards changing your eating habits.
8 staple foods that should always make it to your trolley
Fruits & Vegetables Choose a variety of vegetables to make sure that half the plate is always full of vegetables. Opt for vegetables and fruits that are fresh and in season. Be weary of dried fruits, although they do contain nutrients, they are still high in natural sugars, consume only in small quantities. Choose green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, kale, lettuce, cabbage, rucola and swiss chard. These are all high in fibre, antioxidants, iron, magnesium, calcium and vitamins C, K and folate. Red and orange vegetables such as carrots, peppers and tomatoes, are high in vitamins A, C and K and mineral potassium.
All fruits are ideal, especially when in season, examples include, apples, kiwi, bananas, strawberries and blueberries. For diabetics, opt for low GI fruits such as apples, pears, oranges, grapefruit and berries.
Swap your snacks with nuts. You can opt for nut butters such as hazelnut, peanut and almond butters. When adding nuts to your meals, be conscious of your portion. 3 walnuts yield 83kcal, 6 almonds yield 35 kcal, 1 tablespoon peanut butter, 109 kcals. So you might ask, so why eat nuts?
Nuts, in moderation are excellent sources of antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and fibre. Additionally they have shown to aid weightloss, lower ‘bad’ cholesterol, decrease your risk of heart disease and improve blood sugar levels. Read my article on the benefits of nuts to find out more.
The most common perceived barrier to weightloss across clients is the need for something sweet after dinner. This is completely normal, and you’re not the only one experiencing this. Swap your milk chocolate bar (250kcals) with a 70% (or more) dark chocolate square (40kcals) and you’ll be saving yourself approx. 200kcals. As a bonus, dark chocolate helps fight sugar cravings, reducing your apetite for more sweetness and is rich in antioxidants, iron and magnesium.
Wholegrain bread, cereals and grains
Do not fear carbs in wholegrains, in the right ammounts, they provide lots of fibre, protein, vitamin B, antioxidants and minerals such as iron and calcium. For those seeking to increase their folic acid intake, wholegrains are excellent sources. They also help lower cholesterol, blood pressure and bood sugar levels when looked at as part of a Mediterranean Diet. Always opt for unrefined sources that retained all three layers of the wholegrain; the bran (rich in fibre, Vit.B and minerals) + endosperm + germ. This way you would be taking advantage of all of the benefits that wholegrains have to offer. Ideally choose from Oats, brown rice, quinoa, rye, barley and wholegrain cereals, bread and pasta.
Keep an eye on the nutrition labels of breakfast cereals. Added flavours may increase the sugar content. Choose regular oats (1g of sugar) rather than flavoured instant oats (12g of sugar).
1 egg contains 8g of protein, making eggs an excellent protein source. They can be cooked in many ways and incorporated into salads, omelettes and as binding and coating agents. Apart from protein, eggs provide vitamins A, D and B; important for vision, optimal immune function and healthy bones.
Dairy foods such as milk, yoghurt and cottage cheese contain Vitamin D, calcium, potassium and magnesium - bone builders, ideal for people suffering from osteoporosis and children still in their developmental ages. Dairy products such as yoghurts also contain probiotics - ideal for gut health and digestion. Be careful not to choose yoghurts with added sugars, always check the label. Natural greek yoghurt or skyr are better options with around 10g of protein per 100g.
Such as lentils, chickpeas, edamame beans, red kidney beans and peas. Legumes are an ideal source of plant protein for vegetarians/vegans. Chickpeas in particular have shown to improve insulin sensitivity post meals and is high in fibre, making it ideal as a snack. Try adding some Hummus to your salad! Like chickpeas, lentils can also help lower blood sugar but are also good sources of iron. Black and red kidney beans contain folate, important especially during pregnancy, needed for foetal neural development.
Last but not least - lean protein. As more research emerges we are continously bomarded to stay away from saturated fats and processed meats high in salts. For this reason, opt for lean protein such as chicken, turkey, lean cuts of beef. Fish is also a very good source of lean protein, especially white fish such as cod, haddock, grouper, halibut, tilapia, and bass. Since white fish does not have as much omega 3’s (good fats) as other darker-fleshed fish such as salmon and tuna, it is a good idea to also incorporate the latter from time to time.