Now that we are a few weeks into the New Year, let’s get our lives in order. Holidays are great for relaxing, spending time with family and indulging (or overindulging) in sweet treats, rich foods and Christmas cocktails. But it’s time that we start organizing our lives, our children’s lives and get going on our “New Year, New You” attitude!
Whether you believe in making resolutions or not, using a brand new year is a great way to mentally reset and start something new!
Let’s tackle one of the most common New Year Resolutions, which is weight loss or “eating better”. And where do we actually physically start with this goal? After we’ve set out our plan and emptied out cupboards of garbage foods and holiday cookies, we need to start somewhere. That somewhere is the grocery store.
Plan Ahead- We’ve all heard it before, in magazines & article, the simple yet sometimes challenging recommendation (or warning) to “Not Shopping When You’re Hungry”, means shopping with a plan.
In order to curb unnecessary spending and poor food choices, we must tackle the dreaded shopping with a Plan. I like to call it a plan because it’s not just about writing down the items on the list and sticking to them (because we all know that that won’t happen) but instead planning out your trip so that you physically avoid the candy, chips and sugary cereal aisles. By not even stepping foot in those aisles you’re already reducing the chance of buying something on the naughty foods list.
Plan out your week by figuring out what you’re going to cook for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for yourself and for the whole family. If it’s going to be Chicken 3 days a week, then plan accordingly. If it’s going to be chicken tacos one of the days then you need to account for the extra ingredients. Knowing what you’re having each week will take so much time and guess work out while navigating the store. And no one really likes grocery shopping, so the least amount of time spent there is better!
Also, once you’ve got your menu planned for the week, I would recommend a quick scan of the pantry or larder. There may be spices or grains tucked away in the dark recesses which will save you some money.
Organize Your Items List- Another Health Tip that I’m sure we’ve all heard is “Shop the Perimeter”. This is where all of the freshest fruits, veggies and protein are situated. The Inner aisles aren’t refrigerated and therefore are likely packaged with preservatives to keep them fresh. Fresh, whole foods really only require cool temperatures to keep them fresh and vibrant. So by shopping the perimeter we are avoiding those more processed and artificial products. This means, when you’re creating your list to your favorite grocery store, set up your list so that you can easily navigate and further avoid the temptations aisles.
If you know that when you enter the grocery store, the fresh produce is on your immediate right, have your list setup in order of appearance. This is going to save you time, money and save your weight loss goals!
Reading Labels- Now this a tricky one, but I think it’s a super important that people at least understand a little bit of what they are looking at.
Knowing how to identify the “Bad” stuff is really important as is being able to compare ingredients to the Nutritional Facts is also an important knowledge base to have. I’ll touch on Reading Labels on my follow up article.
Tricky terms and meanings on labels can also leave you confused. Terms like “Fat Free” or “Sugar Free” isn’t exactly as simple as that. It usually means that there less than 0.5g of Fat or Sugar. Which means there is still Fat & Sugar in the product. Again, I’ll touch on the specifics in the follow up Reading Labels article.
Ultimately your safest bet is to choose foods without many ingredients or none at all, i.e., fresh product or meats.
What to Shop for in each Section- This should be super simple. Once you’re in the appropriate diet friendly aisles you should be able to make smart choices.
Make sure that you consult your list! Being excessive with your boxed spring mix isn’t going to do you any good. Because produce is just that; fresh, it will go bad. So since you’re so on top of your game and you’ve consulted and stuck to the list you won’t need to buy 4 boxes of the stuff. Also, if you want to be really frugal and buy more veggies ahead of time, then go venture over to the freezer section and check out the frozen vegetables section. AVOID THE ICE CREAM! It might be on the outside, but you’re not dumb.
Protein is a pricier healthy eating item. So you’ve got to be smart; know your butcher and know when the butcher specials usually come out. Also when shopping for eggs, maybe checking out your local farmer’s market or Mennonite farm for deals on eggs is a good idea. Sure it’s an extra trip, but you’re making a more economical and sustainable choice and you might save a few bucks. Win Win!
Carbohydrates are easy too! Yams, sweet potato, red potato, rice, quinoa and other pseudo grains are all excellent choices for carb sources. Rice and other grains likely won’t be found in the produce section so you’ll have to venture to different aisles. But don’t panic! You’ve planned for this because you’re a focused, planning machine!
Fats can be found in the produce section in the form of avocados and in the oils section as olive oils, avocado oils, hemp oils etc. As well, if you’re in control and have planned your trip you can head over to the peanut butter aisle. But Beware! The nut butters are stocked dangerously close to those Lucky Charms.
In order to make your New Years resolution weight loss goals a success, it goes well beyond the “write it down and tell a buddy”. You need to put that goal into action!
Starting with the eradication of garbage foods and sugars cookies, you then need to plan and prepare yourself for a successful trip to the grocery store.
Plan, Organize, Read food labels and then make smart choices is how you’ll succeed in hitting your New Year, New Me weight loss goals!