Healthy Grocery Guide!
Constructing a shopping list can seem like a laborious and pointless task; however, creating a list will not only allow you to purchase all the groceries that you require but will also serve to reduce the temptation to buy unhealthy foods.
Going to the supermarket without a list is not a wise move when attempting to improve our nutrition and consequent health. The supermarket can be a tempting place and often we can be drawn in by special offers and deals displayed there. Despite the fact that processed products can be detrimental to our health, many individuals continue to purchase a high quantity of these products due to their simplicity, taste, and affordability. This is evidenced by a recent study which indicated that more than 60% of calories consumed by the average American comes from unhealthy, processed products. (1)
A shopping list can allow us to circumvent any attractive supermarket deals and thus reduce the risk of making an unhealthy and unnecessary purchase. By buying only what is needed for the week, you will not only be promoting health but you will also find that you save yourself money.
The Top Health-Enhancing Foods and Their Impact On Well-Being
It goes without saying that there are many supermarket products that can have a negative impact on the body and can endanger one’s health in the long term. Typically, these come in the form of processed foods which are high in fat, salt, sugar while being low in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Furthermore, a diet high in processed foods has recently been linked to increased cancer risk. (2)
Conversely, we can choose to consume unprocessed foods which boost levels of fiber, vitamins, minerals and keep a tight rein on consumption of refined sugar, salt, and fat. Consuming a high number of unprocessed products has been linked with a multitude of health benefits (3); as a result, our weekly healthy grocery list should look to include as many of these products as possible.
So, what types of food should we be filling our shopping cart with?
1) – Plant Products
Purchasing a wide range of fruit and vegetables is highly important in order to fulfill daily micronutrient and fiber demands. It is crucial to consume a number of different plant products as fruits and vegetables all contain distinct combinations of these two components.
Micronutrients are elements which play a key role in producing energy, promoting immunity and causing growth while fiber is required to facilitate digestion. By failing to consume an ample amount of both micronutrients and fiber per day, we are at a higher risk of developing chronic diseases, contracting the infection and seeing a general decline in our overall health and function. (4)
Key fruit to consider adding to your list: Apples, Apricots, Bananas, Berries, Cranberries, Lemons, Limes, Melons, Oranges, Pears, Raisins
Key vegetables to consider adding to your list: Avocados, Black Beans, Carrots, Chickpeas, Cucumber, Garlic, Green Salad, Kale, Onions, Peppers, Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes
2) – Meat Products
Consuming enough protein each day is another key aspect of maintaining and nurturing health while being deficient in protein can cause a whole host of problems, primarily in regards to muscle wastage and fatigue levels. This is due to the fact that protein is the building block for all growth within the body as well as playing a role in regulating a number of vital bodily functions.
When selecting meat products, aim to select lean cuts which do not contain a high level of fat. Additionally, avoid processed meats such as bacon, sausages, and ham which are high in fat and salt. Seafood is a superb option as, not only does it deliver high quantities of protein but, they also contain EFA’s or Essential Fatty Acids which promote heart health and can reduce the risk of developing coronary heart disease (5).
Key meat products to consider adding to your list: Cod, Chicken Breast, Lean Beef, Lean Turkey, Salmon, Shrimp, Tilapia, Tofu, Tuna
3) – Whole-Grains Products
The primary benefit of consuming whole-grain products is that they contain a high percentage of dietary fiber. As mentioned previously, fiber is essential for digestion, promoting digestive health and has also been linked to reducing the risk of cardiac disease. (6)
As a result of the high fiber content, consuming whole-grain products can increase one’s levels of fullness. Remaining fuller for longer proves particularly useful for avoiding unhealthy snacking which can often hinder attempts to improve nutrition.
Key whole-grain products to consider adding to your list: Bread, Brown Rice, Cereal, Crackers, Granola, Oatmeal, Pasta, Pita Bread, Pretzels, Quinoa, Waffles
4) – Dairy Products
Dairy products provide a very healthy dose of protein and specific vitamins and nutrients – namely calcium and vitamin D. Both are of particular importance for maintaining bone strength and health while failing to consume adequate amounts of both can contribute to a reduction in bone density, health, and strength. (7)
Key dairy products to consider adding to your list: Cottage Cheese, Feta Cheese, Greek Yogurt, Low Fat Milk and Cheese
5) – Other Products
There are a number of other foods that can bring an array of health benefits that are not encompassed by any of the above categories. These miscellaneous products include: Almond / Peanut Butter, Balsamic Vinegar, Eggs, Honey, Nuts, Olive Oil and Tea
What you eat can have such a tremendous impact on your day to day life and health. Now, while this is by no means a comprehensive list, the idea is to outline a number of important foods that can assist in health and well-being promotion. Therefore, it is vital that you create a grocery list bursting with many of the listed foods if you are seriously looking to improve your overall diet and health.