- I have been a teacher of fitness and health for thirty years. In 1989 I was certified for personal training with the National Acadamy of Sports Medicine. I had a gym in Santa Barbara for eight years. Co-owned and created a spinning bike company which manufactured bikes for five years. Also I have worked with nutrition companies for twenty years. Along with many wonderful non famous people I have trained many celebrities, and members of the Royal Family. My own athletic past consists of long distance running, long distance cycling, cross country skiing, down hill skiing, rollerblading, hiking, sand running, track work, and weight training. I have authored two fitness columns in local papers, and have been writing this blog since January 2010.
Monday, October 25, 2010
The Smart Way to Shop in a Grocery Store
Shopping in grocery stores can be tricky if you are wanting to buy healthy foods. The first thing that you need to know is that grocery store owners make most of their profits on the processed food items. They make the least amount of money on the fresh fruit and vegetable isles, the foods that are the best for you.
Keep in mind that the number one reason we eat is to give our bodies nutrition. We have turned eating into outlets for pleasure, stress, boredom, or any other emotional reason you can think of, but nutrition is still the most important reason we need to put food into our stomachs.
If nutrition is the reason we eat, then eating a diet largely made from processed foods completely ignores the crucial and most important component of why we eat. There is little to no nutrition in most of the processed foods that grocery stores stock their shelves with.
Since the largest profits come from processed foods in a grocery store, it makes sense that those are the items that will make up the bulk of what is in the store. Not to mention, processed foods have a shelf life that sometimes lasts for years, so the store owner does not have to worry about their expiration dates as he does when it comes to fruits and vegetables that are perishable.
So given the information that many of the grocery stores carry mostly processed food, and that is what makes up most of its inventory, how can you navigate through the store without getting trapped by the sale of processed food?
I said it before, but it is worth repeating, your most healthy non-processed foods are found in the perimeter of the grocery store, not down the center isles. Your fresh produce, meats, poultry, and dairy, are all kept towards the outer walls of grocery stores. It is when you start filling up your cart down the center isles that you can get into the unhealthy, processed foods.
Some stores now carry healthier items in their processed food isles like cereals that are made from whole grains, no chemicals, or high based sugars. You must read the labels to make sure you are getting a processed food that is not full of preservatives, sugar, bleached flours, chemicals, and such.
I find that staying away from brands that are coming from huge conglomerates , like General Mills, Kellogg, and Kraft, and looking for food that is made by "natural" manufacturing companies like, Nature Made or Nature's Path, helps to insure a healthier product. If you do not know what the ingredients are on a package, or cannot pronounce them, don't buy it.
Some people argue that healthy food is more expensive than most processed food. I disagree with that. Many people eat way too much food. If they ate the portion amount that they should, buying fresh fruits and vegetables can be just as economic as buying bulk processed food that they eat too much of.
I would rather eat smaller amounts of food that will give me the nutrition I need, than to eat large amounts of non nutritious food that does nothing for me except make me full, fat, unhealthy, and wanting more of it because of its addictive qualities.
Another thing to remember when you are going into a grocery store to shop, is to not go when you are really hungry. No doubt you will grab things that you don't need or really want when your hunger is driving you. Best to shop when you are not hungry so that you can making healthy choices.
So stay out of the center isles as much as possible, don't shop when you are hungry, and read your food labels on all processed foods! Take control of what it is you are eating.....remember that "we are what we eat". It is your choice to be healthy or unhealthy by what you ingest....choose well!