What does it mean to shop healthy and how does one go about it? This is an age old question and one that actually has a simple answer. But before I get to that answer, there are a few things that need to be discussed. Before I go into the how to shop healthy I think it is important to discuss why shopping healthy is a necessity. There is a saying that goes you cannot out work a bad diet, and as hard as it is to believe it is 100% true. You simply cannot achieve the results you want purely by exercising like your life depended on it and still have a poor an inadequate diet.
Adequately fueling your body is the easiest and fastest way to get the results we all strive so hard to achieve.
When I go shopping, I have a few guidelines I like to follow. The first and probably the most important one is when you go shopping, make sure you are getting what you pay for; crazy concept I know but when you buy items what are you really paying for? Are you going to pay for an overly processed, 35 ingredient, artificially flavored, and genetically modified organism or are you going to buy a simple carton of eggs or a loaf of bread? Checking the ingredients list is a good way to ensure that you are getting what you pay for. If you buy something and the expiration date is over a month, then you probably should not buy it; if it doesn’t go bad after several days then what do you think happens when you eat it?
Another rule I like to follow is I try to buy products that are organic/hormone free/antibiotic free/non gmo/minimal or no processed ingredients. I know that is a long list and it can get expensive but it will pay out in the long run with your health. You want to make sure that you aren’t getting an overly modified or processed food because it can negatively affect your health. This guideline goes along with the last rule I like to follow. That being said, when you are buying produce you do not have to buy 100% organic. A good rule of thumb is if the meat of the fruit is protected by a layer of skin (pineapple, bananas, oranges…etc.) and the ones that the meat of the produce is on the outside is what you want to make sure you buy organic.
The last thing I like to follow when I shop is to stay on the perimeter of the store; if you imagine your favorite grocery store what is on your right as soon as you walk in? Produce….lots and lots of produce; you want to make sure the majority of your shopping cart is full of these. Next to the produce normally is your meats/proteins like fish, beef, chicken, and depending on the store, pork. After getting your grass-fed organic meats, you get to the eggs, dairy, and then finally to your non-perishable drug GM stuff. The middle of the isles are usually stuff we don’t need and normally have a really long shelf life.
So to wrap this up, make sure you get the things you need and make sure you know what you are paying for. There are easy ways to shop healthy and easy ways to make sure you are getting the proper nutrition in order to achieve your health and fitness goals. If you have any questions feel free to ask me more!!
Matthew Neid, M.S.
CF Level 1