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If you are among the hundreds of thousands of people struggling to stay on track with a healthy diet, there’s a good chance you don’t have the best shopping list in place. Many people struggle with planning what to eat, and it can be difficult to make healthy decisions when you’re standing in front of shelves full of junk food.
In the United States today, individuals face a myriad of daily food choices and a great deal of marketing. Shopping thus requires calculated trade-offs between taste, nutrition, price, and convenience. This article will discuss some important features of grocery shopping and then explain how to use a healthy grocery shopping list to make the right choices.
Choosing a healthy grocery shopping list helps you get around the store without difficulty and keeps you on track with the right eating plan. Check out your kitchen cabinets prior to going to the store, then create a grocery list to meet all your needs.
Healthy Grocery Shopping List
Doctors always tell us that “You are what you eat,” so it’s important to pick only the right foods for you and your family when you go shopping by using a Healthy grocery shopping list.
It’s also easier to plan healthy meals for your family, and you can even plan one week ahead, which is helpful if you have a busy schedule. The most important thing is to include foods from all food groups, ensuring that you can serve a balanced meal for your family every time.
How To Compile Your Healthy Grocery list
Most of us know that our diets should include fruits, vegetables, fiber, omega-3 essential fatty acids, proteins, and carbohydrates, but do you know which foods pack the most punch? Certain foods have a greater impact on your body compared to others.
The good thing is that you can have healthy meals that are also tasty and save money by planning ahead. The following is a guide to the foods you should buy when you go to the grocery store.
High Energy Foods
If you are looking for high-energy foods, you should buy those packed with complex carbohydrates. Combining these foods with high-fiber and low-fat proteins can ensure that you and your family have plenty of energy all day.
Apart from fighting fatigue, these foods can help you to maintain your weight because you will not be snacking all the time. You should include the following high-energy foods on your shopping list.
- Sweet potatoes, citrus fruit
- Whole grains
- Low-fat dairy products
- Dried fruits
- Whole fruits
Foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids
These foods are good for your heart and can help prevent heart disease and stroke. They also improve your cholesterol levels.
- Omega-3 fortified foods
- Salmon Mackerel
- Lake trout
- Albacore tuna
- Canola oil
Antioxidants remove free radicals from our bodies and repair the damage caused by these free radicals. If you consume plenty of antioxidants, you can boost your immune system. You can also lower your risk of getting cancer. Antioxidants will also include flavonoids, vitamins, and minerals.
- Red wine
- Black beans
- Pinto beans
- Red kidney beans
- Small red beans
- Russet potatoes
Foods That Control Blood Sugar and Cholesterol
Some foods are packed with soluble fiber, which can help lower our cholesterol levels, minimize a spike in our blood sugar level after meals and enhance our digestive health. These foods are good for someone who has diabetes.
- Whole grains
Plant sterols and stanols are naturally occurring substances found in plants. They are steroid compounds similar to cholesterol and are found in fruits, nuts, vegetables, and vegetable oils. These foods are great because they can help you to lower your cholesterol naturally.
The plant sterols make it harder for your body to absorb cholesterol in your intestines, helping to lower the bad cholesterol. The following foods are packed with plant sterols
- Wheat germ
- Wheat Bran
- Vegetable oils
- Brussels sprouts
- Orange juice
- Granola bars
We have two types of fiber, soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. We need both of them for healthy digestive systems. Besides, insoluble fiber will add bulk to your diet, which is good if you want to control your weight. You also need fiber to lower your risk of diabetes and heart disease.
- Most vegetables
- Citrus fruits
- Dried fruits
Low Sodium and High Potassium Foods
High blood pressure is usually caused by foods that are full of sodium. If you can reduce your consumption of such foods and increase your intake of potassium, you can become healthier.
Avoid processed foods because most of them are full of sodium. Stick to whole foods; you can get less sodium from your diet.
The recommended adequate intake of potassium in adults is 4,700 milligrams (mg) per day. In most cases, this recommendation is not met. Potassium is essential for maintaining bone and heart health.
It is recommended for people with high blood pressure as it can be very helpful in preventing heart disease and stroke.
You can choose from a wide selection of potassium-rich foods to meet your daily needs.
- Sweet potatoes
- Low-fat/fat-free dairy
Best to Buy Organic
For consumers who wish to make the healthiest dietary choices possible, it is recommended that they purchase organic foods whenever available. Organic foods are free of pesticides and other chemicals and have not been genetically modified.
Non-organic foods are widely sprayed with chemicals such as herbicides and insecticides at the time of cultivation.
Non-organic vegetables, fruits, grains, meats, and milk products may contain residues of these agricultural chemicals which can end up in our bodies. These chemicals are associated with a wide range of health issues, including cancer and reproductive failure.
Organic meat is also better for the environment as it does not contribute to concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), which damage soil quality and pollute local waterways.
However, organic food is often out of reach for those on a tight budget. In this case, purchasing non-organic foods grown locally and in season is helpful, as these foods tend to be less expensive.
It should also be noted that although organic food appears to have certain health benefits over non-organic, studies in this area are ongoing and more research is needed.
Some foods, in particular, are best to buy organic. These are foods that are most likely to have a greater amount of pesticide residue. Even though you will pay more, you should only buy organic if you want to buy the following twelve foods.
- Imported grapes
- Bell peppers
- Red raspberries
Supplementing a Healthy Grocery List with Frozen Foods and Canned Foods
In terms of purchasing frozen and canned foods, you can occasionally select the frozen or canned versions of vegetables over the fresh options. Frozen vegetables are often picked at the peak of freshness and then quickly packaged for long-term storage.
The freezing process is thought to enhance the nutritional content of these vegetables by inhibiting the action of destructive enzymes and slowing down the loss of vitamins and minerals.
Additionally, frozen vegetables are typically cheaper than fresh ones, especially when purchased in bulk. The only real drawback is that they must be cooked before consumption.
Canned foods have also been shown to be a good source of dietary fiber and low-fat protein. Studies show that frozen or canned foods are nutrient-dense enough to compete with fresh foods.
Researchers at the University of Illinois Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition compared canned, fresh, and frozen fruits and vegetables and discovered encouraging results:
- The fiber content in canned products is nearly as high as that in fresh products.
- As opposed to freshly prepared fish, canning may actually increase calcium levels.
- Some vitamins and minerals are kept well during canning, including folate, vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, thiamin, and carotenoids.
Some individuals may find canned foods boring compared to organic fresh vegetables, but these items can still be a good choice for those with little time or money.
Given that some canned foods are more processed than others, it is important to check food labels for added sugars and salt whenever possible.
Check the Nutrition Facts Label for Sodium and Sugar
- Most canned foods are preserved by adding sodium, so look for reduced-sodium, no-salt-added, and low-sodium labels. On the Nutrition Facts label, look for products with the least sodium.
- It is recommended to rinse canned veggies to reduce sodium even more.
- When frozen vegetables are served with sauces and seasonings, they can contain excessive amounts of salt and calories.
- Whenever possible, choose canned fruit in its own juice or water. If canned in light syrup, drain the fruit before using it.
- Always ensure that the frozen fruit you buy is 100% frozen fruit – there should be no additional sugars added to them.
The good thing about working with a Healthy grocery shopping list is that you can plan to shop for the whole week.
Your trip will be less stressful if you can shop once instead of trying to navigate the produce section and express lane multiple weeknights after work. You will also be ensuring that your family stays healthy and eats well.
Remember, the goal of creating a healthy grocery list and following it is NOT to create a long list of boring foods. Rather, the goal is to create a short list of healthy foods that you will enjoy and be comfortable preparing.
Following these steps can greatly improve your health while saving time, money, and energy.