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11 Grocery Shopping Mistakes That Are Wrecking Your Diet.

 

We’ve all gone to the grocery store for two things – and walked out with a cart full of snacks we didn’t exactly need. Here is  how to plan your next trip for a smarter haul.

1. You forgot to eat lunch.Healthy eating tips

Yes, you may have heard the “don’t go grocery shopping when you’re starving” thing before — but there’s a good reason for it. Not only are you susceptible to overspending, but you’re also more likely to overeat what you do bring home. So whenever you’re heading to the store, make sure you’ve had a snack or a meal first — your wallet and waistline will thank you.

2. You’re unprepared.

Going to the supermarket without a list is like walking into the SATs without studying. (Well, close enough.) Feeling unprepared makes you vulnerable to poor choices — much like going in hungry! If that slip of paper usually gets left on the kitchen counter, make a list on your phone. Bonus: Then you can also use recipes from cooking apps or photos of favorite cookbook pages.

3. You start on aisle #5.

Bear with me: There’s a strategy to the way a supermarket is laid out. Shopping the perimeter first loads up the cart with the good stuff like fresh fruits and veggies, dairy products, and whole grains. Then, the chips, cookies, crackers, cakes, and soda that line the inner aisles have less room to squeeze into. This theory, also applies to mealtime, too: Fill your plate with with these healthy items, and leave whatever “room” you’ve got left for dessert.

That said, hit up perishable or frozen items last: That will help keep the food you’re prepping stay at the appropriate temperature. Safety first!

4. You beeline for the deli counter.

I’m always in favor of a good, healthy sandwich — but not all deli meats (and cheeses!) are created equal. Many can come loaded with sodium, so even if it’s something lower in fat (like turkey), it may still be chock-full of salt. The better bet: Rotisserie chicken or roast beef. To top it off, pick reduced-sodium cheeses, or swap those slices for 2 tablespoons of hummus or a couple slices of avocado.

5. You’re only shopping “organic.”

Sure, buying organic foods can be beneficial and sometimes safer. But keep in mind it’s most important to buy food that’s healthy. Don’t let the fact that a food is part of the “dirty dozen” (like spinach or kale) keep you from just buying the regular version if your budget doesn’t allow for organic right now. All or nothing attitudes for food and health may not be 100% sustainable for your lifestyle 100% of the time. (Plus, organic food may not be worth the skyrocketing costs.) The bottom line is that some veggies always beat no veggies in your cart!

6. You skimmed the nutrition facts — but not the ingredients.

Fruit juice concentrate and puree aren’t technically added sugar according to the FDA, but they add extra calories to a food item you could eat in a more nutritious form. For example, look for fruit-based products that say “mangoes” or “strawberries” as the first ingredient instead of mango or strawberry puree, and avoid ingredients like “apple juice concentrate.”

7. You’ve stocked up on the wrong things.

I’m looking at you, “lower-calorie,” “reduced fat,” and 100-calorie packs. Let me explain: Those tiny packs are often unsatisfying empty calories, so you’re more likely to blow through a couple at once. If you’re looking for a snack that will give you a real energy boost, go for protein and fiber combos, like fruit with peanut butter or cheese with whole-grain crackers. 

And the same goes for low-cal and reduced fat items. Without the fat, they’re often not as filling so it’s easier to overdo it. Also, when you remove the fat, it’s typically replaced with something — usually sugar. (Frozen yogurt is the worst culprit.) Unless you’re choosing items that cut down on fat without added sweeteners or fillers (good examples include light mayonnaise, low-fat milk, or popcorn made with less oil), you may be better off with the real thing.

8. You’re skipping the freezer aisle.

Sure, you’re avoiding the temptations of ice cream, pizza, and a slate of other treats that remind you of childhood. While I can’t fault your risk aversion, you’re missing out on some frozen gems. They shouldn’t be the bulk of your grocery list, but frozen fruits and veggies along with breads, waffles, and pancakes made from 100% whole grains, and even a single-serving ice cream sandwich can help you make smarter choices.

9. You skipped the canned goods.

First, stop judging: This aisle has more than the slimy green beans of your childhood memories! Canned beans, lentils, chickpeas, and fish (tuna, salmon, sardines, and anchovies) can be incredibly healthy and convenient. Plus, my personal favorite canned food is pumpkin — try it in Greek yogurt with cinnamon and a little honey! Just look for lower-sodium options (140 milligrams or less of salt per serving), canned in water when possible, and drain and rinse before eating.

10. You bought it “on sale.”

Would you normally eat that? If not, a sale isn’t enough reason. When it comes to discount items, double up on things you know you’ll use and that are good for you, like eggs, yogurt, canned or frozen foods, and pantry items like nuts and nut butters.

11. You didn’t make an impulse purchase.

Listen, those little last-minute buys at the checkout line (including the latest issue of Good Housekeeping!) can be well worth it — if you do it right. You’ve already got a cart full of good foods you need, and none of the bad stuff you don’t. So it’s okay to buy a single-serving chocolate bar or candy. Why? Because when you skip large quantities of fatty processed foods, sugary beverages, and other sneaky stuff, you leave room for a smart indulgence that satisfies your sweet tooth and won’t make you feel deprived. So, enjoy!

By Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN, Good Housekeeping Institute/ Aug 9, 2018

 

Healthy Eating on a Budget

 By Marcia Sikorski, RD, LDN, CDE

There is a misconception that healthy eating is expensive. In many cases, basic healthy foods are not only less expensive but often more nutritious than the more expensive processed foods. With a little planning and wise food shopping, you can get the nutrients you need while staying within your budget. Continue reading “Healthy Eating on a Budget”

Eating Eggs to Stay Heart Healthy

are eggs good for your heartAre eggs good or bad for the heart? People with a risk of heart disease may avoid eating eggs because of their saturated fat and cholesterol content. But did you know it is egg yolks that have the cholesterol and saturated fat? Egg whites are safe and a good source of protein.

Consider cooking methods when including eggs in your diet. 

  • Poaching
  • Boiling
  • Pan Frying with a light cooking spray

These are all healthy ways to cook your eggs without contributing to your daily amount of saturated fats. Avoid cooking methods that include using oils or dairy. In order to keep your sodium down remember to limit the amount of salt you add to your eggs, as the recommended daily amount is under one teaspoon. 

Why Should I Eat More Fruit?

benefits of eating fruit

The addition of fruits to your diet guarantees better health and a well-rounded diet in the long run. Here are just a few reasons fruits should be included in your daily diet:

1. Dietary Fiber

Fruits are high in dietary fiber, so they help improve the function of the digestive tract.

2. Natural sugar provides an increase in energy

Fruits, such as bananas and apples, contain a lot of natural sugar, which increases your energy.

3. Helpful in weight loss and maintenance

Studies show that people who eat at least one serving of fruit a day are less inclined to have snacks and junk food. Fruit is also composed of 90 percent water, which means it helps flush out the unwanted toxins in your body.

4. They promote healthy skin and hair

Fruits that relieve constipation, such as bananas and apples, can help alleviate acne. Grapes can also help cleanse the skin to alleviate acne and soften the texture of your hair.

5. Fruits help keep you disease-free

The amount of flavonoids and antioxidants in fruits lower the risk of strokes, high blood pressure, indigestion, cancer, heart disease and other chronic diseases.

Healthiest Fruits

All fruits are high in nutrients, but here are the healthiest fruits to include in your diet:

  1. Pomegranates
  2. Blueberries
  3. Blackberries
  4. Raspberries
  5. Apples

Healthiest Veggies!

All vegetables provide a range of nutrients and health benefits. But, these vegetable powerhouses are the most nutritious vegetables to include in your next grocery list:

Carrots

Carrots contain the highest amount of pro-vitamin A. Vitamin A protects vision and reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases and cance

Tomatoes

This vegetable powerhouse includes more than 20 vitamins and minerals. In just one cup of tomatoes, you can get a healthy dose of vitamin A, C and K. Other nutrients in tomatoes include potassium, magnesium, folate, copper and iron.

Asparagus

One cup of asparagus is a great source of vitamins A, C and K. It also includes folate, which is a vital nutrient for women of childbearing years.

Green and Red Pepper

Just one cup of a red bell pepper includes 100 percent DV of vitamin A. In addition to being a great source of vitamin A, it also includes high amounts of vitamin C and B6.

Spinach

Spinach includes more than 35 vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, vitamin K and a range of flavonoids.

Broccoli

Broccoli contains vitamin A, C and K in addition to high amounts of folate and fiber.

Brussel Sprouts

Brussels sprouts boost high levels of B complex, folate, fiber, potassium, vitamin A and vitamin E.

Fruits and Veggies

AMAZING POWERS OFFERED!!!

Lowers blood pressure, helps with weight loss, prevents some cancers, promotes healthy hair, vision, nerves and skin, aids in proper digestion… and more!

What is it that can do all that??   Fruits and Vegetables!!!

Vegetables that top the list with higher amounts of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other compounds include:

  • Dark Green ones like leafy kale, spinach and collard green;
  • Bright orange/red choices including tomatoes, radicchio, sweet potato and pumpkin;

Fruits with high scores include:

  • Berries
    • blueberries
    • strawberries
    • blackberries
  • Citrus, especially oranges
  • Melon
    • cantaloupe
    • watermelon
  • Kiwi
  • Apricots

All others certainly provide good amounts of nutrients and should be a part of your daily menu.

What to look for when shopping:

Buy fresh or frozen without additional sauces, cheeses, oils or salt. Canned, packed in their own juice or without salt can also be used. Bagged fruits and vegetables can be economical, but you should always carefully inspect the produce and buy those without bruising, brown spots or wrinkled skin. Wash all well before putting away.

How to include them:

  • Plan to have at least one fruit and one vegetable as part of every meal or snack.
  • Enjoy them fresh or cooked (roasted, baked, steamed or grilled) as is or add them to your favorite dishes.
  • Add frozen, fresh or no salt added canned vegetables to:
    • soups
    • casseroles
    • sandwiches
    • breakfast egg dishes
    • meatloaf
    • vegetable stir fry
    • crock pot meals
    • tomato sauces

Consider:

  • Baked on meat, fish or poultry
    • onions
    • peppers
    • mushrooms
    • apple
    • apricots
    • oranges
    • lemon
    • lime
  • Kabobs
    • fruit
    • veggies and meat, fish or poultry, grilled
  • Vegetable or fruit salsa
  • Stuffed vegetables
    • peppers
    • mushrooms
    • tomatoes
    • squashes
  • Fruit salad or smoothies
  • Fruit added to salads, gelatin or in a dessert

Choosing Healthy Fats

healthiest fats

Quick tips to choosing healthier fats

 

Choosing foods with healthy fats is an important part of everyone’s diet. Replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats can help to reduce your risk of heart disease. What are saturated fats and where are they found?

Saturated fats are found in animal products. Most people remember the beef, pork, lamb, eggs and processed fatty meats like sausage and bacon, but often forgotten are dairy products- milk, cheese, sour cream, cheese and cream cheese, yogurt, butter and solid fats. Saturated fats are known to increase LDL (low density lipoproteins) that can increase your risk for developing heart disease. Tips below can help you improve the type of fat in your diet and reduce your risk of heart disease.

Use liquid plant oils for cooking and baking

Plant based oils such as olive and canola oil are rich in heart healthy unsaturated fats. Try dressing up a salad or roasted vegetables with an olive-oil based vinaigrette.

Ditch the Trans Fat

When grocery shopping, reading food labels will help you find foods that are trans fat free. Look for the “0” under total fat, and read the ingredient label for the words “partially hydrogenated oil”. Most manufacturers have removed trans fats from their products due to a law from 2006 requiring them to list the trans fats on their food labels. There are still food products in markets where trans fats are used to enhance food flavor, so vigilance is still needed to keep your intake of trans fats close to zero each day. In restaurants that don’t provide nutritional labeling, it is best to avoid fried foods, biscuits, and baked goods and desserts. Many restaurants are attempting to provide this information to their patrons, but it best to steer clear unless you know that the restaurant has eliminated trans fats from their inventory.

Switch from Butter to soft-tub margarine

Choose a product that has zero grams of trans fat and read the ingredient list to make sure it doesn’t have partially hydrogenated oils. Use a plant based oil whenever possible; refrigerated extra-virgin olive oil makes a great spread for toast!

Eat at least one good source of  Omega-3 fats each day

Current research shows that omega-3s lower the risk of heart disease and may also help depression, diabetes and other chronic conditions. These healthy fats are being added to everything from eggs to peanut butter. You can also get them naturally in salmon or tuna, or from fresh, oily fish. The fatty fish, walnuts and canola oil all provide omega-3 acids, essential fats that our body cannot make.

Cut back on red meat, cheese, whole milk and ice cream

Red meats (beef, pork and lamb) and whole fat dairy products are high in saturated fat. Eating less red meat, especially processed red meat such as bacon, and choosing fish, chicken, nuts or beans is an important change to make to reduce the risk of heart disease. If you do choose to eat red meat, choose lean cuts and keep the portions in control. Low fat and reduced fat cheeses are available, but they’re not always so low in fat, and they are often higher in sodium. If choosing cheese, select the one you like, watch the portion and savor the flavor. Low fat or non-fat dairy- milk and yogurt, is better than whole fat choices, and depending on the amount you consume, it might not make a difference.

As you choose foods with healthy fats, and limit the saturated and trans fats in your diet, remember to not replace the saturated fats with refined carbohydrate foods as these can cause weight gain and will not protect your heart, and may increase your risk of developing heart disease.

 

Simple Ways to Cut Calories

ways to cut calories

“Slow hands” with the salad dressing, mayonnaise and sauces:

  • 2 tablespoons of regular Ranch-type salad dressing contains close to 140 calories
  • ½ cup Alfredo sauce contains up to 300 calories
  • ½ cup of red pasta type sauce adds about 80 calories

While light versions can reduce total calories, be aware that they can still contain a lot of calories in a small portion.  Measuring cups and spoons might be a helpful tool!


Be picky with your proteins!

  • -Sausages, pepperoni, hot dogs, spare ribs, bacon and bologna are all high-fat, high-protein foods and contain upwards of 300 calories for a 2 ounce serving, or about the size of a small sausage link.

Better choices to save calories would include chicken, fish, turkey, lean beef, Canadian bacon and ham.  Consider too, plant proteins like kidney beans, lentils and soy based products.


Skip (slow down) the snacking!

  • -The average “snacker” puts away 300-600 calories per snack.

Typically, snack foods chosen are often high in calories, hydrogenated (bad) fats and sodium. The body will work better if given a 3-4 hour break from food. Breaks allow the stomach and the brain to signal each other better. Include them if you are truly feeling hunger or if a meal is delayed to prevent overeating at the next meal. Choose lean protein, raw vegetables, small amounts of nuts or a small piece of fruit.


Push away the pasta and rice!

  • 1 cup of cooked rice or pasta (about a cereal bowl filled halfway),  without oil or sauces added sets you back up to 250 calories.

Use 100% whole grain versions to add fiber. Additionally toss in vegetables like onions, peppers, mushrooms, broccoli to increase volume and help control calories.

 

Shy away from shoveling your food!

  • Try the  “4 bite rule

Usually, the first and last bites of food are the tastiest. Eat slowly, taking time to enjoy the texture and taste of the food. The decreased stress and improvements in brain-stomach messaging help cut total calories over time.

Sip wisely!

  • Flavored coffees can add up to over 500 calories for 24 ounces.

Start by ordering smaller sizes; consider asking for less syrup; add less cream, milk and sugar.  Look for coffee and tea that is flavored without added calories.