A key step for losing weight, keeping the weight off, and staying healthy is learning how to buy the right foods at the store. This will ensure you have healthy choices at home. Avoid bringing unhealthy choices, such as chips or cookies, into the home. Having to go out to buy an unhealthy treat gives you more time to make a conscious decision about eating that food.
Avoid buying snack foods in bulk and shopping in warehouse-type stores if you can. Getting a good deal can lead to overeating. If you do buy large amounts of a food, divide it into smaller portion sizes and store what you will not use right away.
When you buy protein, choose:
- Lean ground turkey or chicken and skinless turkey or chicken breasts.
- Lean meat, such as bison (buffalo) and lean cuts of pork and beef (such as round, top sirloin, and tenderloin). Look for ground meats that are at least 97% lean.
- Fish, such as salmon, whitefish, sardines, herring, tilapia, and cod.
- Low-fat or nonfat dairy products.
- Legumes, such as pinto beans, black beans, kidney beans, lentils, and garbanzo beans. Canned beans are convenient but if you have the time to prepare them from scratch, dried beans are much cheaper. Low for low-sodium canned goods.
- Soy proteins, such as tofu or tempeh.
FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
Buy plenty of fruits and vegetables. They will fill you up and provide vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients your body needs. Some buying tips:
- One medium-sized apple has only 72 calories.
- 1 cup (130 gram) carrots has only 45 calories.
- 1 cup (160 gram) of cut up cantaloupe melon has only 55 calories.
- Select canned fruits that are packed in water or juice, not syrup, and have no sugar added.
Frozen fruits and vegetable can be good choices as long as there is no added sugar or salt. Some benefits of frozen fruits and vegetables include:
- Can be as nutritious or sometimes more nutritious than fresh as long as they do not contain added sauces.
- Will not go bad as quickly as fresh.
- Easy to prepare. Bags of frozen veggies that steam in the microwave can be ready in under 5 minutes.
BREADS AND GRAINS
Choose healthy breads, cereals, and pasta, such as:
- Whole-grain breads and rolls (read the label to make sure the first ingredient is whole wheat/whole grain.)
- All bran, 100% bran, and Shredded Wheat cereals (look for cereals with at least 4 grams of fiber per serving.)
- Whole-wheat or other whole-grain pasta.
- Other grains such as millet, quinoa, amaranth, and bulgur.
- Rolled oats (not instant oatmeal).
Limit refined grain or "white flour" products. They are much more likely to:
- Be high in sugar and fats, which add calories.
- Be low in fiber and protein.
- Lack vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrients.