Healthy, sustainable weight loss isn’t about tedious calorie counting or over the top food limitations. It’s about nourishment and nutritious eating patterns. Building well balanced meals and making wise choices during grocery shopping are key to accomplishing this.
But do you find meal planning and navigating the grocery store overwhelming? We’re here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be. To make your supermarket excursions less stressful, our CMC Weight Loss team has put together some of their favorite healthy grocery shopping hacks to stock your cabinets with delicious, nutritious foods that will support your weight loss goals.
9 Tips for Healthy Grocery Shopping
1. Plan and Prepare
Before heading to the grocery store, take some time to plan your meals for the week. Create a shopping list based on your planned recipes, ensuring you include a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. This strategic approach can prevent impulse purchases and help you stick to your weight loss plan.
2. Shop the Perimeter
Most grocery stores arrange fresh produce, meats, and dairy along the perimeter. Focus on these outer sections to load your cart with nutrient-dense, whole foods. This minimizes exposure to processed and high-calorie items often found in the central aisles.
3. Select a Colorful Variety
Aim for a rainbow of colors in your cart. Different fruits and vegetables provide various vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Incorporating a diverse range of produce ensures a balanced and nutritious diet, supporting your weight loss journey.
4. Embrace Seasonal Produce
When it comes to produce, try incorporating seasonal fruits and vegetables into your diet not only to provide variety but also ensure that you’re getting the freshest and most nutrient-rich produce available. Keep an eye out for seasonal specials and plan your meals around these offerings.
Here are some of our favorite seasonal options in South Carolina:
Asparagus, Beets, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Carrots, Cauliflower, Collards, Kale, and Greens, Green Cabbage, Leeks, Radish, Rutabaga, Spinach, Sweet Potatoes, Winter Squash
Blueberries, Broccoli, Cucumbers, Green Garlic, New Potatoes, Spring Onions, Squash + Zucchini, Strawberries, Sugar Snap Peas, Swiss Chard
Basil, Blackberries, Blueberries, Butter Beams, Cantaloupe, Celery, Chanterelle Mushrooms, Chives, Corn, Cucumbers, Dill, Edamame, Eggplant, Field Peas, Figs, Fingerling Potatoes, Garlic, Melons, Microgreens, Muscadines, Nectarines, New Potatoes, Okra, Onions, Peanuts, Peaches, Pears, Peas, Peppers, Plums, Potatoes, Raspberries, Scallions, Snap Beans, Squash + Zucchini, Strawberries, Swiss Chard, Tomatillos, Tomatoes, Watermelon
Beans, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Chanterelle Mushrooms, Chard, Chestnuts, Chives, Cilantro, Citrus, Collards, Cucumbers, Edamame, Eggplant, Field Peas, Kiwi, Okra, Onions, Pecans, Peppers, Persimmons, Pomegranates, Pumpkins, Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Winter Squash
5. Read Labels Mindfully
Don’t be fooled by marketing claims. Take the time to read food labels, paying attention to serving sizes, calories, and nutritional content. Opt for products with minimal additives, lower sugar content, and whole, recognizable ingredients. If you can’t pronounce several of the ingredients, you’ll likely want to leave that item on the shelf.
A lot of sauces, dips and dressings often hide sneaky additives and extra sodium. Luckily, almost all grocery stores have lighter, healthier options as well if you know how to look. A good rule of thumb for salad dressings is to swap creamier options like cesar, ranch and thousand island for a lighter vinaigrette or oil. Similarly with sauces, opting for those with fewer ingredients will usually guide you in the right direction. In this case, less is more!
6. Choose Lean Proteins
Protein is essential for weight loss as it promotes satiety and helps maintain muscle mass. Opt for lean protein sources such as skinless poultry, fish, tofu, legumes, and low-fat dairy. Incorporating these into your meals can enhance your weight loss efforts.
7. Whole Grains over Refined
Swap refined grains for whole grains. Choose whole wheat bread, brown rice, quinoa, and oats to increase fiber intake and keep you feeling full longer. The fiber in whole grains aids digestion and supports weight management.
Not all carbs are created equal. A quick tip for choosing the healthier carbs is to avoid the white options, and go for the darker ones. Quinoa, brown rice and farro are more beneficial carbs than white rice. Sweet potatoes over baked potatoes, whole wheat bread over white bread, etc.
8. Stock Up on Healthy Snacks
Avoid the temptation of unhealthy snacks by having nutritious options readily available. Stock up on fresh fruits like berries and grapes, raw nuts, yogurt, or cut-up veggies. Having these alternatives on hand makes it easier to resist the allure of less nutritious choices. Instead of not buying any snacks and restricting yourself, nourish your body with a healthier option.
9. Don’t Shop Hungry
It’s a well-known fact that shopping on an empty stomach can lead to impulsive and unhealthy purchases. To avoid this, make sure to eat a nutritious meal or snack before heading to the store. This will help you make more rational and health-conscious choices.
Eat Well, Be Well
If you groan at the thought of spending money on your “healthier” groceries, consider it an investment in your health. You can invest in smart eating habits now, or you pay the price down the road from one too many unhealthy food choices.
By eating well, you protect yourself from many noncommunicable diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. You’ll also have more energy if you’re consuming nutritious foods that offer your body what it needs to keep going throughout the day. Our healthy grocery shopping tips are simply the start to point you in the right direction.
You’ve Got This
Food is the fuel your body needs to operate daily. Like good fuel for a car, it’s important to remember healthy eating impacts how well your body functions. Armed with these healthy grocery shopping hacks, you no longer need to dread the grocery store. These easy tips will help you navigate the supermarket with the confidence you need to make informed choices to build a well balanced diet for your week. Here’s to happy shopping and eating well!
CMC Weight Loss can help you achieve your weight loss goals
Depending on your unique goals and challenges, there are many different components to weight management. Some people may be fine with the help they receive through routine healthcare and weight-loss medications, while some may opt for programs such as Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig. For others, unique treatment options recommended or performed by a bariatric physician are extremely helpful for regaining control of their weight and health.
Dr. Zaher Nuwayhid, bariatric surgeon with CMC Weight Loss, has been successful at helping patients manage their weight through medical weight loss solutions and bariatric surgery. With a medically backed, scientific approach, he and his experienced team have the clinical knowledge of the body and mind to effectively build a wellness plan that will help you achieve your weight loss goals.
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