Most of us have at least a basic idea of what food is good for us and what food isn’t. But how easy do we give in to temptation? Are we doing what we can to avoid temptation in the first place? As I’ve been discussing on my By Design radio program (Show #22), 90% of the American food budget is spent on processed, highly inflammatory foods.
The supermarket is temptation headquarters. Those merchandising folks really earn their money, don’t they? They make us walk to the opposite corner of the store to get the necessities that we buy every week. Yet the snacks and colas that are loaded with sugar are always prominently displayed at the end of the aisle as we walk through the door. We need to go shopping prepared for a fight that many food company folks are winning every day.
The first part of a simple supermarket strategy is preparation. Make a menu plan for the week. Check the circulars and websites for special offers. Bring a list and stick to it, even if you see great specials when you get to the store. Avoid the aisles – and those tempting foods – that you don’t need.
Remember, if it’s not in the house, you can’t eat it!
Food is meant to rot or spoil. Just eat it before it does. Shelf life is what food companies care about, not your health. So-called food sitting in aisles may be good for food company profits but it’s bad for the American family. Expiration dates matter. If food has an expiration date a year from the time you buy it, it should be called something other than food because it’s not good for consumption.
The second thing you need to do is stop believing that it’s more expensive to eat healthy. It’s just not true, especially with some simple planning. The less prepared food is, the more nutritious it is – and it’s usually less expensive. When you shop for food, you’ll be cooking at home. That’s a whole lot less expensive than eating out. Food preparation is critical for feeling our best and living without chronic illness.
Here are a few simple tips for your supermarket strategy:
• Never go food shopping on an empty stomach. The same rule applies in my house when my kids are going to a birthday party. Feed them and feed yourself prior to heading out.
• Buy whole broccoli stalks, not precut broccoli florets. This will save money and preserve vitamin content. As a general rule, it’s best to buy vegetables fresh, then frozen, then canned. Fresh is always first.
• Try to buy produce from local farmers. Its fresher and you’ll be supporting a local business.
• If you consume dairy, make sure it’s organic, not cage free or natural.
• Make your own marinades and salad dressings with your favorite herbs, spices, vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. Pre-packaged, marinated foods and dressings usually have added salt, sugar, preservatives and fats. When you make your own, you can only make what you need and you’ll save money by using ingredients you already have.
• Buy fresh vegetables or plain frozen vegetables and add your own healthy sauce instead of buying those vegetable medleys with sauce in the bag.
• If you eat meat, buy less expensive cuts of grass-fed beef and make stews. Grass-fed beef has almost 25% less saturated fat than conventional beef and is much less of an inflammatory food than conventional.
• Buy brown rice, whole grains and legumes in bulk and store in zip-lock bags.
• Avoid the soda and cereal aisles especially if you bring your kids.
Remember, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure have all been linked to unhealthy eating habits. By putting minimal effort into a supermarket strategy, you can reduce your risk and take your health back.
This is the year of the family. Make it a point to enjoy healthy family meals. Get input from everyone on your weekly menu planning, and encourage your children to learn how to shop. Taking the kids with us and teaching them the pitfalls of bad choices are part of our job as parents.
What simple supermarket strategies do you use to avoid temptation, eat healthy and save money? Join in the conversation on our Facebook page.
Dr. James Proodian is an accomplished chiropractic physician and health educator who founded Proodian Healthcare Family of Companies to help people feel better, function better, and live longer. His expertise for the past two decades has been in physical rehabilitation, and he has successfully established himself as a spinal specialist. In his practice, he advocates the science of functional medicine, which takes an integrative approach to treating patients by addressing their physical, nutritional, and psychological needs. Alarmed by the escalation of complex, chronic illness in our country, Dr. Proodian has been speaking to companies and organizations through his “Wellness at Work” program since 1994, motivating thousands of people to make positive lifestyle choices and lead healthier, more productive lives. He can be heard weekly on his radio program, “Proodian Healthcare By Design,” on Tandem Radio.