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Healthy Eating 103: The Big 5

So, after the last few posts on Healthy Eating 101, specifically those related to groceries, I got to thinking… After having multiple friends and family members ask me about how they can try to start shopping more healthfully, I think a shorter, more summarized post might be helpful. Though the other posts covered this in-depth, I thought (especially after yesterdays long-winded and photo-filled post), that perhaps I would offer just my overarching guides in a concise format. There are obviously a lot of details that I could share about these, but I wanted to just touch on them, which is why I have a few bullet points under each.

The Big 5 For Shopping:

1. Whole, real foods – mostly plants that are as fresh as possible

– If you have trouble finding fresh produce, just got to the frozen section. It’s a marginal difference in nutrition and money, so please be good to yourself and yours by eating foods that will nourish your flourishing < 3

– If for some reason either of those options won’t work, canned is a possibility. (However, there has been growing concern about the BPAs that are leeched from the linings in these cans.)

 

2. Focus on produce, bulk bin dried beans, lentils, legumes, whole grains, seeds, nuts, and lean proteins.

– Remember, beans are as low as $.50/lb. Quinoa is a complete vegetarian protein (contains all necessary amino acids), and legumes, lentils, and peas are excellent sources for “beefing up” a dish (without the beef….get it?).

– We truly cut our spending in half when we started buying from bulk sections. And, we ended up shopping the bulk sales and introducing fun, nutritious new foods into our diet. Win-win.

 

3. Don’t buy white flour (if it doesn’t say “whole wheat” or “whole grain” it is almost always white), refined sugar, additives, “processed” or hydrogenated anything.

– The real heart of the matter here is simply that you can’t trust labels. Sorry! Example: If the it says, “Zero Grams Trans Fat” or “Trans Fat-Free,” it can still contain up to .5 grams. Bleh.

– Did you know white flour is literally bleached? As in, treated with chlorine or peroxide or…worse? Again, bleh. Would not drink chemicals like these…why eat them?

– Labels are not infallible, and frankly, they are usually designed to deceive us into consuming their product. Try to make as much of your food as you can.

– If there’s anything remotely suspicious (“wheat flour,” “maltose syrup,” “natural flavoring” [not a  dealbreaker, just be careful — often MSG, etc.],”corn sugar,” etc.), put it back on the shelf!

 

4. With packaged foods especially, if there are any added ingredients, try to limit them to 5-10. (Maybe start higher and work your way down; the key is to get into a rhythm of eating less processed food.)


5. With any foods, those ingredients should be natural, you should know what they are, why they are there, the possible effects they could bring, and be able to pronounce them. (Even if you disregard 4, hold strong to this guy. He speaks truth.)

– I can’t explain these further — I think the last two speak for themselves! : ) Know your food!

While I certainly realize that taking all 5 of these on at once after eating a very different way for years or a lifetime would be overwhelming, they are “reaching points” to work toward over time. Perhaps you already do all this. Perhaps you do it most of the time. Perhaps you want to start with one of them. Either way — more power to you! Figure out what you’re able to do in the present, and keep stretching to include more whole foods in your diet. Over time, you will naturally turn this habit into a lifestyle : )

Any other tips that don’t fall under these guides?

What has your experience been with transitioning into healthier shopping?

(TGIF!!!)

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AboutKara

I’m a writer, new mom and foodie. I love sharing what I know while making others feel beautiful. On this blog, I share my healthy lifestyle, simple meals, fitness tips and experiences.

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