Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Smart Shopping ~ 7 Tips for success

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Grocery stores can make or break your fitness goals. Your success depends on what goes into the cart and makes it into your home. One of my favorite quotes is "you can't out-train a bad diet." This is SO true. Can you imagine preparing for, then running a marathon without losing a pound? It happens. I know this - because it happened to me. Yes, running 5 days a week, then the race itself, I logged hundreds of miles that summer and didn't lose a pound. I didn't understand it. There was a very simple reason that I lost no weight. I ate more than I burned off. If you consume more calories than you burn off you gain weight. No matter how hard you train, one trip to the grocery store can undo all that you've done at boot camp or the gym.

Getting in and out of the grocery store with exactly what you planned to buy is tricky. How many times have you gone in for bread and left with $50 worth of stuff in your basket? There are lots of ways the stores keep you wandering down the aisles, and if you go with a plan, you are more likely to stay on track. Here are ways to shop smart and stay on track!

Stop by the cooler in the front...and get the largest bottle of water they sell - pop it open and drink the entire time you're shopping. If you happen to be a little hungry, it will satisfy you. It will remind you of your goals to make this a healthy shopping trip, and it will help get you to your 64 oz minimum water intake for the day! I try to find the liter bottles and finish it before I leave. Plan your lunches and dinners on Sunday ~ Spend an hour making your list and your plan. Think through the entire day, including snacks. Once you've purchased it, bring it home and do the chopping and sorting. It will take a few more minutes out of your day, but it will also make grabbing a healthy snack easier - which makes it more likely you will eat it and not junk. If you know that you don't have time to chop everything ~ buy it already done for you. Try to only hit the grocery store once a week.

Plan 1 cheat meal per week BUT.....Don't buy the chocolate you are going to indulge in, until the day you're going to eat it. Too tempting to have it in the house for most people. If it's not in the house, it's not going to be as much of a problem in a weak moment.

Never, Ever go to the store hungry - I'm sure you've heard this, but it's worth mentioning again. This will blow your strategy. Especially if they're handing out samples. I've never been to a store where they're sampling celery and almond butter. It's usually egg rolls, creamy alfredo or something else that's going to be creamy, unhealthy, and not on your list! You're much more likely to make impulse purchases if you're hungry and at the grocery store.

Linger in the Produce section and shop the perimeter - Shopping the perimeter means that you are spending most of your $$ on produce, lean meats, and dairy. The processed, packaged, preservative laden food is all in the middle of the store. Linger in the produce and make your basket look like a rainbow of colors from all of the veggies and fruits you buy. Get fresh lemon to flavor your water during the week. Apples for healthy snacks....

Choose fresh or frozen veggies - canned veggies just don't cut it. Fresh is best. Steam them, bake, or boil. Don't smother with butter or cover with cheese :) If you can't do fresh, frozen is next best. Don't overcook the veggies or they lose their nutritional value.

Go without the kids - Even though mine are older, if I have them with me, I always buy more. If you have kids (that are old enough to talk) chances are they are going to be asking for junk. The cereal aisle will become a battleground. If all you have in the house is cereal that you pick out based on it's nutritional value, there's no discussion on whether or not they will eat it. The people that package Trix and Lucky Charms know how to get their attention...so if possible, go alone.

Eating clean IS a little more work. It is NOT as convenient as the drive-thru at Wendys. But, for a little extra work, you get a huge payoff. Your training during the week will not be trashed by the trip to Market Street. Here's a list of the foods that are in my basket each wk:
Chicken breast (skinless, boneless)

Whole wheat breads
Ezekiel muffins
Almond butter
Skim milk
Sweet potatoes
almonds (raw, unsalted)
steel cut oatmeal

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