Certified Personal Trainer
Certified Nutrition Specialist
Author/Founder of TruthAboutAbs.com
Smart choices start at the grocery store. What you take home will define what you and your family eat that week. What you prepare for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks has an enormous effect on your weight and your health. To embrace healthy living for 2011 grab hold of these foods in your grocery shopping and make sure they a part of the meals you prepare for yourself and your family.
Cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, and yogurt These items make for a healthy, delicious mid morning or afternoon meal. Think of ways to combine these items with other healthy toppings to suit your fancy.
Yogurt topped with granola, nuts, berries. Or yogurt topped with your preferred fruit pieces.
Cottage cheese topped with tomatoes and pepper. Or use ricotta cheese instead if cottage cheese.
Chopped walnuts, pecans, almonds, macadamias, Brazil nuts, etc.
These are healthy fats.
Choose your favorite nuts and use as toppers. Make raw almond butter spread for toast. You can use any nut you wish to make a raw natural nut butter.
Whole flax seeds
Always grind them fresh because the omega-3 polyunsaturated fats are highly unstable and prone to oxidation, potentially creating inflammation causing free radicals from pre-ground flax.
Grind up flax seeds to add in cereal, over yogurt, or sprinkled on toast with almond butter.
One of natures richest sources of nutrients and high quality protein.
Chose your favorite way to eat eggs and make it a meal. ONE of the best things about eggs is that they keep you full for quite sometime. It's the perfect breakfast!
Tomatoes and herbs in salsa is a spicy way to spice up your health.
Make your own salsa instead of store bought. Use it as an accompaniment with meats, with oven baked chips or potatoes, or as an egg topper.
Butter adds great flavor to anything and can be part of a healthy diet provided you use it in small quantities. Avoid margarine at all costs.
• Avocados - love them...plus a great source of healthy fats, fiber, and other nutrients. Try adding them to wraps, salads, or sandwiches.
• Whole grain wraps and whole grain bread (look for wraps and bread with at least 3-4 grams of fiber per 20 grams of total carbs).
• Rice bran and wheat germ - these may sound way too healthy for some, but they actually add a nice little nutty, crunchy taste to yogurt or smoothies, or can be added when baking muffins or breads to add nutrients and fiber.
• Leaf lettuce and spinach along with shredded carrots - for salads with dinner.
• Home-made salad dressing - using balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, and Udo's Choice oil blend. This is much better than store bought salad dressing which mostly use highly refined soybean oil (source of inflammation-causing free radicals).
• Frozen fish - I like to try a couple different kinds of fish each week. There are so many varieties out there, you never have to get bored. Plus, frozen fish is usually frozen immediately after catching, as opposed to fresh fish, which has been in transport and sitting at markets for days, allowing it more opportunity to spoil.
• Frozen berries - during the local growing season, I only get fresh berries, but during the other 10 months of the year, I always keep a supply of frozen blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, cherries, etc. to add to high fiber cereal, oatmeal, cottage cheese, yogurt, or smoothies
• Frozen veggies - again, when the growing season is over and I can no longer get local fresh produce, frozen veggies are the best option, since they often have higher nutrient contents compared to the fresh produce that has been shipped thousands of miles, sitting around for weeks before making it to your dinner table.
• Frozen chicken breasts - very convenient to nuke up for a quick addition to wraps or chicken sandwiches for quick meals.
• Frozen buffalo, ostrich, venison, and other "exotic" lean meats – Yeah, I know, I'm weird, but I can tell you that these are some of the healthiest meats around, and if you're serious about a lean healthy body, these types of meats are much better for you than the mass produced, hormone-pumped beef and pork that's sold at most grocery stores.
Alright, now the staples in my cabinets:
• Oat bran and steel cut oats - higher fiber than those little packs of instant oats.
• Cans of coconut milk - to be transferred to a container in the fridge after opening.
• Various antioxidant rich teas - green, oolong, white, rooibos are some of the best. Surprisingly, even chammomile tea has been shown to provide important trace nutrients and antioxidants.
• Stevia - a natural non-caloric sweetener, which is an excellent alternative to the nasty chemical-laden artificial sweeteners like aspartame, saccharine, and sucralose.
• Organic maple syrup - none of that high fructose corn syrup Aunt Jemima crap...only real maple syrup can be considered real food. The only time I really use this (because of the high sugar load) is added to my post-workout smoothies to sweeten things up and also elicit an insulin surge to push nutrients into your muscles.
• Raw honey - better than processed honey...higher quantities of beneficial nutrients and enzymes. Honey has even been proven in studies to improve
glucose metabolism (how you process carbs). I use a teaspoon or so every morning in my teas.
• Whole wheat or whole grain spelt pasta - much higher fiber than normal pastas • Brown rice and other higher fiber rice - NEVER white rice
• Cans of black or kidney beans - I like to add a couple scoops to my Mexican wraps for the fiber and high nutrition content. Also, beans are surprisingly one of the best sources of youth promoting antioxidants!
• Tomato sauces - delicious, and as I'm sure you've heard a million times, they are a great source of lycopene. Just watch out for the brands that are loaded with nasty high fructose corn syrup.
• Dark chocolate (as dark as possible) - This is one of my treats that satisfies my sweet tooth, plus provides loads of antioxidants at the same time. It's still calorie dense, so I keep it to just a couple squares; but that is enough to do the trick, so I don't feel like I need to go out and get cake and ice cream to satisfy my dessert urges. Choose dark chocolate that lists it's cocoa content at 70% or greater. Milk chocolate is usually only about 30% cocoa, and even most cheap dark chocolates are only around 50% cocoa. Cocoa content is key for the antioxidant benefit...the rest is just sugar and other additives.
• Organic unsweetened cocoa powder - I like to mix this into my smoothies for an extra jolt of antioxidants or make my own low-sugar hot cocoa by mixing cocoa powder into hot milk with stevia and a couple melted dark chocolate chunks.
Of course, you also can never go wrong with any types of fresh fruits. Even though fruit contains natural sugars, the fiber within most fruits usually slows down the carbohydrate absorption and glycemic response. Also, you get the benefit of high antioxidant content and nutrient density in most fruits. Some of my favorites are
kiwi, pomegranate, mango, papaya, grapes, oranges, fresh pineapple, bananas, apples, pears, peaches, and all types of berries.
Well, I hope you enjoyed this special look into my favorite lean body meals and how I stock my kitchen. Your tastes are probably quite different than mine, but hopefully this gave you some good ideas you can use next time you're at the grocery store looking to stock up a healthy and delicious pile of groceries.