Grocery store shelves are filled with shakes, pills, protein bars and smoothies that promise to help you lose weight if you use them. Magazine headlines in the checkout lanes proclaim the best ways to curb your appetite, lose inches and drop pant sizes.
The messages are deafening and confusing. Don’t eat carbohydrates. Don’t eat fat. Don’t eat meat. Don’t eat vegetables. Stay away from dairy. Don’t exercise. Or the other extreme: Eat only high-fat foods, only vegetables or only carbohydrates. Exercise without changing your diet.
It’s really all about balance.
Follow these basic guidelines, and you’ll be off to a great start:
- Determine your weekly needs by planning your menu ahead of time. Mix up the meals. Allow each member of the family a choice.
- Keep a running grocery list. What foods, spices or other ingredients are needed for the week? Write it down, type it up or use a grocery app. The Wunderlist app is easy to use to create your grocery list, and you can invite others. Each of you can add to the list and check off items.
- Group your foods to match the layout of the store.
- Review your household’s weekly schedule. Will it be a week filled with soccer, T-ball, show choir practice and music concerts? Work or church events? Decide who will be home when so you know the number of mouths you are feeding at any given time throughout the week. Will you have time for a leisurely meal, need a quick bite or will everyone eat in shifts?
- Shop the outer perimeter of the grocery story for the healthiest ingredients. That’s where you will find produce, meat and dairy.
10 tips on how to shop smart for fruits and veggies (ChooseMyPlate.gov)
- Celebrate the season. Use fresh vegetables and fruits that are in season.
- Don’t pay full price. Check store ads and manufacturer’s coupons.
- Stick to your list. It will save you time and money.
- Try canned or frozen. Choose items without syrup or added salt.
- Buy small amounts frequently. This keeps waste down, saving you money.
- Buy in bulk when items are on sale.
- Save money with store brands.
- Keep it simple. Buy produce in its simplest form.
- Get it fresh. Plant a garden.
- Plan and cook smart. Precook foods in bulk; package and freeze the extra food.