Make A Healthy Grocery List For A Healthier You in 2019
In our last article on New Year Resolutions we talked about how to avoid being in the 80% of people who fail at their Resolutions by February of the new year and gave practical tips to achieving those Resolutions or Goals.
In this article, we will go a bit further to show how you can intentionally live healthier in 2019.
We know our bodies are the vehicles that carry us through life, right? And of course, to get the maximum benefit out of any vehicle, you must service it with the right kind of fuel .i.e. food.
Now this is where most people run into trouble.
What you have in your pantry or store determines how healthy you eat and getting it right starts with making a healthy grocery list.
Having a well-planned, healthy grocery list gets you in and out of the store quickly and helps you stick to your healthy eating plan on an affordable budget.
No more dumping food items in the bin because they are bad or buying what you will end up not using.
Don’t fret, use these tips and in no time, you will have a blueprint for grocery shopping that won’t bust your budget or your healthy eating lifestyle.
Note: Organize your grocery shopping list by aisle. These tips will help you fill your list with the healthiest food options from each aisle.
1. Bakery and Bread
Your List should contain the following options:
- Whole-wheat, gluten-free or sprouted bread,
- Pita pockets, whole-wheat wraps
- Whole-wheat English Muffins
- Whole-grain flour tortillas
Tip: Look for the words “whole wheat” or “whole wheat flour” as the first ingredient on the label. Choose whole-grain breads that contain at least 3 to 4 grams of fiber and have fewer than 100 calories per slice.
2. Meat and Seafood
Here are some must-have options on your list:
- Skinless chicken or turkey breasts,
- Ground turkey or chicken
- Salmon, trout, mackerel, or your favorite seafood
- If you buy red meat, choose the leanest cuts — ones with very little marbling.
Tip: Choose ground chicken or ground turkey breast over ground beef as they are much lower in fat. Get creative with the condiments and you’ll get flavor without the fat.
3. Pasta, Rice and Starches
Must-have options on your list include:
- Brown rice
- Whole wheat or whole-grain pasta
- Sweet potatoes
- Irish potatoes (recommended to cook and eat with the skin for its rich fiber content)
- Garri with the fibers
Tip: Again, favor whole grains whenever possible. Avoid processed foods without fiber such as processed poundo yam, fine garri without fiber.
3. Oils, Sauces, Salad Dressings and Condiments
Your list must have the following options in this category:
- Tomato sauce
- Barbecue sauce
- White-wine vinegar
- Other Vinegar (red wine, balsamic, rice)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Extra virgin Coconut oil
- canola oil, nonfat cooking spray
- Jarred capers and olives
- Hot pepper sauce
Tip: Many sauces and condiments are surprisingly high in sodium and sugar. Look for sugar-free varieties. Keep track of sodium levels, especially if you’re cutting back on salt. Replace mayonnaise and other high-fat condiments with options like salsa and hot sauce, or choose light mayonnaise.
4. Cereals and Breakfast Foods
Cereals are usually the go-to option for breakfast foods, therefore ensure to choose wisely. Here are healthy options that must be on your list:
- Whole-grain, high-fiber or multigrain cereals
- Steel-cut or instant oatmeal
- Whole-grain cereal bars
Tip: Buy cereals and cereal bars that are high in fiber and low in sugar. Use berries, dried fruit, or nuts to add sweetness to your cereal.
5. Soup and Canned Goods
In as much as we typically make our own soups in Naija, it is important to have these easy options handy just in case you need a quick dinner fix after a long day at work. Make sure you have the following healthy choices on your list:
- Diced or whole peeled tomatoes
- Tuna or salmon packed in water
- Low-sodium soups and broths
- Black, kidney, soy, or garbanzo beans;
- No-salt-added lentils, split peas
- Diced green chilies
Tip: Check the label to see how much sodium is in canned vegetables and soups. Look for lower-sodium varieties. When buying canned fruits, choose brands that are packed in juice rather than syrup.
6. Frozen Foods
Your list must contain these options:
- Frozen vegetables: broccoli, spinach, peas, and carrots (no sauce)
- Fruits: strawberries, raspberries, blueberries (without added sugar)
- Frozen shrimp
- Pre-portioned, low-fat ice cream or frozen yogurt
- Whole-grain waffles
- Whole-grain vegetable pizza
7. Dairy, Cheese and Eggs
This is where lots of people get into trouble. Get these healthy choices on your List and you will be glad you did:
- Skim or low-fat milk or soy milk or tiger nut milk
- Low-fat yogurt
- Fat-free or low-fat cottage cheese
- Low-fat cheese or string cheese snacks
- Eggs or egg substitutes
- Firm tofu
- Butter or spread (a variety that doesn’t contain hydrogenated oils)
Tip: If you like whole-fat cheeses and butter, you don’t have to deprive yourself. Just use smaller portions. Buy strong-flavored cheeses like Parmesan or goat cheese, so that you can use a smaller amount without sacrificing taste. Don’t buy pre-sweetened or flavored yogurts, which can be very high in sugar and calories. Instead, buy plain yogurt and add your own flavor with a tablespoon of fresh fruit or jam.
8. Snacks and Crackers
No need to deny yourself of snacks, ensure you snack healthy with these options that must make it to your list:
- Whole-grain crackers
- Dried fruit: apricots, figs, prunes, raisins, cranberries
- Nuts: almonds, cashews, walnuts, peanuts, pecans, pistachios (roasted and unsalted)
- Seeds: sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, whole or ground flaxseeds
- Peanut butter, almond, or soy butter
- Dark chocolate pieces (containing more than 70% cocoa)
Fresh from the farm to your table, your list can’t go wrong with these healthy essentials:
- Fruit: bananas, apples, oranges, mangoes, strawberries, blueberries, avocado pears, watermelon, pawpaw
- Vegetables: sweet potatoes, baby spinach, broccoli, carrot sticks, onions, garlic, pumpkin leaf, bell peppers, cabbage, etc.
- Unripe plantain
Tip: Look for a large variety of colorful fruits and vegetables. They have the most nutrients. Buy fruits and vegetables that are in season and locally grown. Th
ey taste better and cost less. Precut fruits and vegetables save you prep time but are pricier.
10. Dried Herbs, Spices and Seasonings
Have some of these on your list:
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- Lemons or Limes
- Fresh or bottled minced/crushed garlic, ginger, turmeric
- Crushed red pepper
- Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano, Parsley, Basil
On Your List:
- Unsweetened green and flavored teas,
- Calcium-fortified orange juice
- Sparkling water
Tip: If you buy juice, make sure it’s 100% fruit juice and not a “juice drink,” or “-ade.” An easy at-home recipe is to add fruit juice to sparkling water.