The Joyful Anthology

Healthy Food Shopping

Good nutrition starts with smart choices in the grocery store. Cooking up healthy meals is a challenge if you don’t have the right ingredients in your kitchen.

We have the power of choice to decide which foods to buy at the grocery store. Making the healthiest food choices when shopping and eating out is a key to consuming a well-balanced diet.

The process can  start  before you head to the grocery store. Before you set out for the market, plan your meals for the week, and create a list to shop from. It takes a few minutes, but saves time in running back to the store.

I have a library of cookbooks that I’ll skim through and I’ll make a list of ingredients I need for those recipes in advance.

At times when I have the flexibility,I like to take my time when I’m shopping, creating and inventing new recipes as I am able to see the selection while I’m shopping. I like to food style as well so I get creative as I’m shopping.

When shopping, be mindful of the foods your family likes, and their food intolerances. Shop for ingredients that everyone will be able to enjoy to avoid wasting.

Healthy food choices are important for good health and well-being. Eating well means eating a variety of nutrient-packed foods. You should be filling your cart with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy, lean meat, fish, poultry, beans, and nuts, depending on your diet and restrictions.

Be adventurous; aim to try  incorporating new fruit’s or vegetable’s

Here are some tips when shopping for your groceries:

  1. ProduceSpend the most time in the produce section, the first area you encounter in most grocery stores (and usually the largest). Choose a rainbow of colorful fruits and vegetables. The colors reflect the different vitamin, mineral, and phytonutrient content of each fruit or vegetable.
    Although shopping for Organic produce can be costly, it’s important to do our best to stay away from the produce highest in pesticides. These are the 12 highest in pesticides that you should try to shop for organic: Peaches, Apples, Sweet bell peppers, Celery, Nectarines, Strawberries, Cherries, Lettuce, Grapes (imported), Pears, Spinach, and Potatoes.
  2. Breads, Cereals, and Pasta. Choose the least processed foods that are made from whole grains. For example, regular oatmeal is preferable to instant oatmeal. But even instant oatmeal is a whole grain, and a good choice.When choosing whole-grain cereals, aim for at least 4 grams of fiber per serving, and the less sugar, the better. Keep in mind that 1 level teaspoon of sugar equals 4 grams and let this guide your selections.  Cereals make great vehicles for milk, yogurt, and/or fruit. Bread, pasta, rice, and grains offer more opportunities to work whole grains into your diet. Choose whole-wheat bread and pastas, brown rice, grain mixes, quinoa, bulgur, and barley. To help your family get used to whole grains, you can start out with whole-wheat blends and slowly transition to 100% whole-wheat pasta and breads.
  3. Meat, Fish,  Poultry  and Eggs are all great sources of protein. Depending on your diet, it’s important to incorporate sufficient amounts of  your choice of protein into your diet. The American Heart Association recommends two servings of fish a week. Since I don’t eat meat or poultry I have more fish, but I am mindful about staying away from larger fish that are higher in mercury levels. The fish that are highest in mercury are: King mackerel, Marlin, Orange Roughy, Shark, Swordfish, Tilefish (from the Gulf of Mexico), Tuna (Bigeye, Ahi), Bluefish and grouper:  The National Resources Defense Council adds these to the list of those to avoid.
    Salmon, Anchovies, flounder are  good choices  and good sources of omega-3 fatty acids.When shopping for meats and poultry look for labels that say antibiotic-free, hormone- and steroid-free, pasture-raised, GMO-free and organic. Support your local butcher and develop a relationship with him asking him to source organic raised meat or poultry.
    Look for organic eggs as well. If you’re choosing between organic eggs from your supermarket or locally grown eggs that are not certified organic but come from a reputable source, the locally grown eggs are probably the better choice.

    4.Dairy. Dairy foods are good sources of bone-building calcium and vitamin D which we all need. There are plenty of low-fat and nonfat options and pre-portioned cheeses. If you enjoy higher-fat cheeses, no problem — just keep your portions small.

    5. Canned and Dried Foods.  A variety of canned vegetables, fruits, and beans can be kept on hand to toss into soups, salads, pasta, or rice dishes. Whenever possible, choose vegetables without added salt, and  frozen fruits that are organic and don’t have added sugar. Sea salt, nut butters, olive and coconut oils, and apple cider vinegar should be in every healthy pantry.

Most importantly is to have fun and enjoy the process of food shopping. The food we nourish our bodies with should be selected mindfully. It should be a joyful process.

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