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Healthy Eating Doesn’t Have To Be Difficult

by Christie Stelly

Having a well-planned and organized grocery list allows you to spend less time inside the store, and prevents you from walking out with junk foods.

As the saying goes, “fail to plan, plan to fail.” This saying is especially true when creating healthy eating habits. Healthy eating habits begin with what you eat daily and what you buy at the grocery store.

The best way to create a grocery list is to separate it into three macro sections: fats, carbohydrates, and protein.

Fats are a crucial nutrient that the human body needs in order to function. Our bodies require ‘good fats’ in order to function optimally. Women, specifically, need to make sure they are getting enough fat in their diet because that is what helps regulate hormones.

Healthy sources of fat that you can purchase from the grocery store include avocados, peanut butter, eggs, oils, nuts and seeds.  Try to avoid saturated fats, as they are linked to a higher risk of heart disease and high blood cholesterol.

Next up on the list are carbohydrates. These are another macronutrient that are essential to our bodies because they provide fuel and energy to muscles and nervous system.

Some women are under the false impression that carbs are bad and that they should avoid them when dieting.  On the contrary, good sources of carbohydrates have many great effects on the body, including being a form of energy.

Healthy forms of carbohydrates that you can buy are potatoes, vegetables, fruits, beans, rice, quinoa and oatmeal.

It is fairly easy to distinguish which carbs are healthy and which are not.  For example, which carb do you think would benefit your body more: an apple or a doughnut?  The apple would obviously be healthier because it has healthy sugars, fiber, and is lower in calories.

The last food group on your grocery list should be sources of protein. Protein is essential when it comes to building muscle mass.  Protein is specifically essential to the weight loss process because it keeps you from losing a mass amount of muscle. Protein also helps keep you full throughout the day, which is helpful when you are eating a limited amount of calories.

Some healthy sources of protein include chicken, turkey, lean ground beef, tofu, beans, fish, egg whites and Greek yogurt.

When it comes to the planning portion of the grocery list, if you are someone that is on a budget, try going to the stores’ website and taking a look at their circular before you go. You can browse through the sale items and find the healthiest options. If you know what you need ahead of time, you can look for coupons. Make a list according to each “macro” section before you go.

Once you arrive at the grocery store, try doing most of your shopping on the “outside” of the aisles to avoid processed foods.  Most of the middle aisles contain boxed foods that are heavily processed and high in sodium.

Stick to what you have on your list and try your best to not succumb to buying the pint of ice cream that is tempting you. If you do not keep unhealthy foods in the house, you are less likely to make poor food choices. This all starts with your grocery list and planning ahead.

It’s also helpful to follow your favorite grocery stores on social media. “Trader Joe’s List,” Trader Joe’s Official Instagram page, and “Whole Foods Greater Hartford” are great pages to get creative with healthy eating. Many local markets including Price Chopper and Stop n’ Shop have social media accounts that provide specials and featured items.