If you ask ten people what the hardest part of losing weight is, NINE of them will say “shopping for food”.
When you're on a weight loss plan and trying to slim down, the most daunting place you can go is your local supermarket. There is just so much food and you can't get in and out without passing by your favorite sweet treat or deli counter.
Shopping for groceries when you are trying to lose weight takes a bit of practice, but once you've learned the basics, you'll be able to sail right past those cookie samples without even a glance.
Here are a few tips to get you in and out without a hitch.
Shop the Perimeters
A good rule of thumb when shopping your local grocery store is to hug the outer lanes of the store to find the healthiest foods. Typically, grocery stores line the perimeter of the store with the produce cases, the dairy case, and the fresh meats and fish. The inside aisles hold the majority of the prepackaged foods that you want to avoid. This is generally speaking, of course, but give it a try at your grocery store and see if it works that way for you.
Shop for Color
As you push your cart along the outer walls of the store, look for the bright and vibrant-color foods. Generally speaking, foods with rich, bright, or dark colors have more nutrients than those with a pale color. For instance, strawberries and eggplants have a higher nutrient-density than potatoes or onions.
Even though potatoes and onions are perfectly fine and offer nutrition, to get the most bang out of your dieting buck, go for the bright colors. You can apply this to proteins in many instances, as well. You know a deep red salmon fillet is going to be more nutrient-dense than a salmon fillet that has a light color.
Avoid Sugar by any Name
You would be surprised at all the places sugar can hide in a grocery store. It is practically around every corner. Since sugar will rob you of your weight loss goals, it is important to turn into a detective in order to avoid it. Just for reference, here is a laundry list of aliases for sugar.
Barley malt syrup
Corn syrup, or corn syrup solids
Dehydrated cane juice
Fruit juice concentrate
High-fructose corn syrup
Sorghum or sorghum syrup
Of course, not all sugar is created equal. Raw sugar may be a better choice than refined sugar. However, when it comes to weight loss, your body isn't going to know the difference. It's going to want to turn that sugar into fat. Try stevia or truvia as a sugar substitute. You may be surprised how great they'll make your food taste.
I use a little stevia instead of sugar or artificial sweeteners in my tea, and I love it. I also add stevia in some of my sweet treat recipes, and they taste delicious.
Be aware also that most processed foods that are labeled low fat have added sugar to adjust the taste. Labels are your friend and you should get used to reading them.
“good” carbs vs “bad” carbs
One the quickest ways to derail your fat loss and weight loss goals is to buy and consume the wrong carbs. Carbs are very important in your diet. Good Carbohydrates provide sustained energy to the body as well as help reduce risk of disease. And they provide a variety of essential vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fiber.
Bad carbohydrates are the refined, highly processed carbohydrates from which most of the nutrients and fiber have been removed. The body has trouble processing these foods, and therefore, they do not digest well. Simple starches and sugars throw off insulin production, causing fluctuations in blood glucose levels.
Most foods that contain bad carbohydrates provide empty calories with little or no nutritional value. As a result, the body stores these extra calories in the cells as fat. Lets break it down in to two columns, Carbs to Buy and Carbs to Avoid:
Carbs to Buy:
leafy green veggies/fruits
Carbs to Avoid:
whole wheat/refined wheat breads and pastas
anything overly processed (usually you will find these items in the middle of the aisles at the grocery store)
While shopping at the grocery store can be daunting, I've taken away all the guesswork for you with a detailed shopping list of all the food you need for fat loss in my book Eat, Drink and Shrink.
Just remember, if you fill your cart with foods from the perimeters, brightly colored foods, foods without added sugar, and good carbs, you are well on your way to eating a diet that will help you lose weight now and keep it off for a lifetime.
Yours in health,