Loosing weight doesn’t always require diet foods and pills — it can be as simple as a well-stocked refrigerator and pantry. Having tempting, processed foods in your home while you’re trying to eat healthier can be a detriment to your diet. Instead, stock your cupboards with healthy foods found in the grocery store that make it easier for you to triumph. Know what to look for when you shop so you’ll bring home groceries that help you achieve your goals.
The produce is typically one of the first sections in your grocery store. As a general rule, shopping around the perimeter of the store will help you avoid processed, sugary and fatty foods. Produce is an example of low calorie, yet nutritionally dense food that makes for ideal snacks throughout the day. Apples, oranges, carrots, celery, tomatoes and other produce can be chopped ahead of time and stored in your fridge for easy access to healthy foods. You can even purchase produce pre-chopped — ensure that pre-packed produce does not contain preservatives.
Meats can supply your body with protein, but they can also be high in fat. When purchasing meat, keep low-fat in mind. That means purchasing meats without skin to eliminate excess calories, like boneless, skinless chicken breast. If purchasing beef, look for lean ground beef and lean cuts of beef that have little marbling. Buy fresh cuts of fish, which are low fat, provide protein and are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which Medline Plus notes can help significantly decrease body fat when combined with exercise. You’ll also find omega-3 fatty acids nuts, cabbage, flax and leafy greens. If you’re vegetarian opt for tofu, textured vegetable protein, nuts, seeds and legumes for your daily dose of protein.
The bakery section of any grocery store can be riddled with temptation in the form of donuts, pastries and cakes. Steer your cart away from fresh-baked goods and turn to the bread aisle instead. Healthy whole grains are packed with fiber, which can help you stay full and satisfied to avoid excess snacking. Whole grain bread and crackers are a good way to supplement your diet with heart-healthy fiber, iron and B vitamins. Also look for brown rice, oatmeal and whole wheat flour.
Head to the dairy case to fill your cart with low-fat cheese, sour cream, yogurt and other milk products. Dairy has protein and calcium which can help you feel fuller longer. Dairy can also help provide energy throughout your day and for daily workouts. Look specifically for low fat varieties of your favorite products to cut down on unnecessary calories. When choosing dairy products, look for those with the least amount of ingredients listed. Yogurt, for example, is often seen as a health food but can be filled with preservatives and chemicals. Choose dairy closest to its natural form for the best results.
While the juice, sports drink and soft drink aisle is tempting, it’s best to stick with water when trying to lose weight. Other forms of liquids are often sugar-laden and add empty calories to your daily caloric intake. If drinking plain water doesn’t suit your tastes, try low or no calorie flavor packets to add flavor to regular water bottles. You can get the taste of your favorite drinks without increasing your daily caloric intake.