Anytime is the perfect time to accomplish a little “Spring Cleaning!” And there is no better place to start than in the kitchen. Cleaning out your refrigerator and cupboards will guarantee getting back on track with healthy eating habits. Grab those shopping lists, seize the reusable shopping bags and follow us on the journey of navigating the grocery store.
Before we depart:
Tip #1: Do not shop on an empty stomach:
Shopping while hungry will lead to impulse buying and overspending on items that look good at the time. If you do not have time to have a meal before you shop, try grabbing a snack to tide you over until you can eat. One suggestion is half a ham sandwich with a piece of fresh fruit or glass of low-fat milk. A snack or small meal will fend off the hunger pains and keep you from ripping open the tempting packages in the cookie aisle!
Tip #2: Make a list:
Making a list before you even leave the house will assist in planning meals and snacks for the week, as well as helping you stick to your healthy eating. You will be less likely to diverge from your list and walk aimlessly through the aisles trying to decide what sounds good for dinner! It will also help facilitate being disciplined while you resist the tempting calls of the “junk-food” aisles! If nothing else, create your well-organized list and send someone else in the family to do the shopping. More than likely the shopper will stick to the list to enable speed shopping, not over-spending!
When we arrive:
Tip # 3: Start in Produce:
Take just a minute and reflect on how almost every grocery store you have ever frequented is laid out. You breeze through those mechanical doors as the aroma of the bakery tickles your senses. You turn to your right and are greeted by every color of the rainbow in the produce section. The produce section is a great place to start your grocery store extravaganza by selecting vibrant colored fruits and vegetables for important sources of vitamins and minerals that will contribute to your daily nutrient needs.
Tip#4: Stick to the perimeter of the store:
As you journey on through the produce you encounter the fresh meat section. There are so many choices of fresh, nutrient-rich proteins to choose from. You settle on pork tenderloin because pork is lean and full of many vital minerals and vitamins our bodies require. A three-ounce serving of pork tenderloin, for example, is an “excellent” source of protein, thiamin, vitamin B6, phosphorus, selenium and niacin, and a “good” source of potassium, riboflavin, choline and zinc, yet contributes only 6% of calories to a 2,000 calorie diet. Six of the most common cuts of pork have, on average, 16% less fat and 27% less saturated fat than 20 years ago. Many may not realize the pork tenderloin is just as lean as a skinless chicken breast.
As you continue to follow the perimeter of the store, it leads you to the dairy section. It is here you fill up on low-fat and fat-free milk, cheese, yogurt and cottage cheese. At the bakery section, choosing whole-grain or 100% whole wheat breads should be a cinch. Be sure to check the ingredients and look for that first ingredient to be WHOLE-WHEAT FLOUR, not refined. Whole grains will ensure you are getting your fiber and additional nutrients that are often lost in processing into refined flour. Now gaze down at your cart. It is almost half full and you have not even touched the middle aisles! By shopping the perimeter of the store first will ensure you pick up the nutrient-rich foods that will most impact your healthy habits. From here you can navigate the middle isles for those few staple items every household needs. For instance look for whole grain options such as whole wheat pasta, crackers, couscous, rice and tortillas located in the middle aisles.
Tip 5#: Shop fresh:
This doesn’t include just fresh fruits and vegetables but meat as well. When choosing fruits and vegetables an array of colors will ensure getting important vitamins and minerals your body needs. Also keep in mind shopping in season. Not only will this keep extra coins in the purse, seasonal produce is generally cheaper, it will also allow your palette to experience different produce at different times of the year. Think spring with arugula, asparagus, beets, carrots, chard, cherries, fennel, grapefruit, kiwi, leeks, lemons, oranges, peas, radish and rhubarb. Choosing whole fruits and vegetables more often over 100% juices will ensure added fiber and nutrients into your diet since many juices have added ingredients, like sugar, to them.
Fresh meats are a great way to pack a healthy nutrient, rich protein punch into your meals. Pork is a very versatile protein that can complement any dish or stand out as center of the plate entrée. From lean ham to pork tenderloin, pork offers endless options for everyone searching for ways to stay satisfied while avoiding additional inches to the waistline. Selecting a lean cut of pork does not have to be difficult or time consuming. Look for the word “loin” on any label or ask your local butcher. Remember loin = lean, such as “loin chop” or “pork tenderloin.”
Now its time to come home and unpack and put all your groceries away. A few things to consider when handling meat, don’t cross-contaminate, always wash hands with hot soapy water before and after handling raw meat, know the proper internal cooking temperatures, proper washing of cutting boards, dishes, utensils and countertops and refrigeration.
For important food safety steps when handling, cooking and serving meat click on Pork Safety