Time is a precious commodity these days. And unfortunately, our health often gets short shrift as we pack in more responsibilities and resort to processed, convenient food, which only contributes to our diabesity epidemic.
But let's be clear: Healthy food isn’t hard to find. And you needn't only shop in a gourmet food store or farmers' market to eat well. When you know where to look — the periphery of the store is a good place to begin — you’ll find plenty of healthy foods right in your neighborhood supermarket.
Eating well also doesn't require spending hours cooking complex meals. A little preparation coupled with shopping savvy will yield big dividends. You know the saying, “Fail to plan, plan to fail”? That goes double for healthy shopping.
Before you hit the grocery store, keep a journal for one week detailing how much time and money you spend on all things food-related. You'll probably be surprised how much goes to waste — and you'll see where you can improve. Next, take stock of what you already have in your kitchen. Then, make a shopping list and stick with it.
To make your grocery trips even smarter, I’m sharing some shopping strategies that minimize time while maximizing your health and budget. With this three-step plan, stocking your kitchen with nourishing foods doesn't need to consume a lot of time, effort or money.
Step 1: Load up on produce.
Non-starchy veggies are freebies — eat as many as you like! But I recommend limiting fruits, as too many can increase your insulin levels. When possible, choose organic, seasonal, and local produce. In the winter months or when your favorite produce is out of season, you can find organic versions in the freezer section.
When you can, avoid the most pesticide-contaminated fruits and vegetables by consulting the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” list. Instead, choose from the “Clean Fifteen” options. Just make sure you’re buying unseasoned or unsweetened varieties.
Step 2: Buy your favorite non-perishables in bulk.
Aim to have a range of pantry staples — including extra-virgin olive oil, nut butters, seasonings and spices — on hand. Many of my favorite recipes contain these ingredients, and these items will provide the foundation for many meals.
Because you only use a little of these at a time, and they don't perish easily, you tend to get a lot of value from them.
Step 3: Stock the freezer with quality protein sources.
When selecting beef or meat, choose grass-fed, hormone-free, or organic, whenever possible. The United States Department of Agriculture mandates that all poultry is raised without hormones, so look for the terms “antibiotic free” or “organic” when buying poultry. Check out the Environmental Working Group’s Meat Eater’s Guide to choose meat that’s good for you and good for the planet.
Smart protein products include omega-3 enriched fish, wild-caught seafood, lean cuts of meat, and whole non-GMO soy foods like tempeh and tofu.
With these strategies, you'll radically simplify grocery shopping while keeping your kitchen stocked with real, fresh foods. You can pull many of these strategies together with delicious, easy-to-make recipes from The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet Cookbook.
What shopping strategy would you add to this list? Share yours below or on my Facebook fan page.