Making sure to eat right is not always easy, especially when fast/convenient food is everywhere. Who wants to make a homemade meal from scratch when you can buy a frozen one? This was how I felt before I realized the damage I was doing to my body by not paying attention to what I was eating. A year ago my eating habits were horrible, I ate out twice a day and home-cooked meals consisted of frozen pizzas, chicken strips, and french fries.
A healthy diet is an important part of weight loss and more importantly, your overall health. By changing my eating habits, I am now happier and healthier than I have been in years! Here are some tips on what to lookout for at the grocery store:
1. Do not buy anything that is pre-made and frozen. If the directions say anything like preheat oven to 350 degrees and put in for 15-35 minutes, WALK AWAY. These foods are generally high in calories, fat, salt and preservatives.
2. Buy whole wheat products instead of its white counterpart. Whole grains are good source of fiber and other important nutrients, such as selenium, potassium and magnesium. These nutrients are an important part of weight loss and have been shown to lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers and other health problems.
3. Look at the Nutritional Facts before buying anything. This one was a real an eye-opener for me. If you want a quick and easy way to know if something is good or bad for you all the information is right here.
- An average woman should be eating 1500 calories per day. So when you are looking at the label make sure you aren’t getting 500+ calories from one serving of anything. ALWAYS LOOK AT THE SERVING SIZE. This varies for almost all products so make sure that one tablespoon of that salad dressing isn’t 40 per cent of your daily intake of fat.
- Always look at the amount of sodium and sugar in the product as well. As a rule of thumb, don’t buy any products that have over 20 percent of your daily sodium per serving. Avoid products that are high in sugar. An average woman should have, at maximum, 30 grams (that’s six tablespoons) of sugar per day. A can of coke has 39 grams. Having too much sugar in your diet has been linked to higher risk of heart disease and diabetes.
4. Don’t buy desserts… If they aren’t in the house then you won’t eat them. If I really want a dessert then I have to leave my house and go get one. Most of the time I don’t want to make the effort so I save myself a few hundred calories of fat and sugar just by being lazy 🙂 Another good rule to put in place is to walk to the restaurant/ grocery store if you are going to get a dessert. You will get in some exercise and won’t feel so bad eating that dessert after your walk.
5. Buy lots of Fruits and Veggies. This is nutrition 101, vegetables and fruit are full of essential vitamins, nutrients, minerals and fiber that your body needs. Fruits and vegetables are low in calories, so you can eat more of them without going over your recommended daily calories. This means you can eat more food without feeling guilty. Some other benefits of eating more fruits and veggies is that they prevent disease, aid weight los,s and are cheaper than buying meat. The best part about eating fruits is that they have natural sugar and that you don’t have to worry about your sugar intake (a great dessert alternative).
- Buy prepackaged salads (not the ones with dressing) they are great way to get in some veggies. All you have to do is chop up some veggies and you are ready to go.
6. Make sure to buy some lean protein. This can come from skinless chicken breasts, lean beef, fish, egg whites, beans, dairy and protein powder. It’s important to include protein in your diet especially if you are working out. Your muscles need the amino acids found in protein to repair and build. An adult woman needs 46 grams of protein per day.
7. Don’t go to the store when you are hungry. Junk food will look way more appetizing and you will end up bringing it home with you.
8. Do not buy pop or other sugary drinks. They are full of sugar and empty calories. If they are in the house, you will drink them. Do not buy them and tempt yourself. By cutting out pop, you will save thousands of calories per year. Drink water instead.
9. Plan ahead and make a list. Double check you have all the ingredients for your recipes. Making a list makes going to the store a breeze and you are less likely to buy snacks that aren’t on there. Also, if you have all the ingredients for your meals at home, you are less likely to order a pizza. You’ll save yourself time, money and calories.
10. Treat yourself once in awhile. If you are having an intense craving for chocolate chip cookies instead of buying a full box head to the bakery and get a couple of fresh baked ones. That way you can eat what you love but in moderation! 🙂