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Want to plan healthy eating habits for the warm summer months? Start at the grocery store

Starting nutritious eating habits can be a difficult challenge to take on. But as the weather changes so can your motivation to achieve that new look for summer.

It’s important to always have a variety of healthy options in your home to ensure you stay on track. The first place to start is when you’re pushing a grocery cart through the aisles. But, with so many choices, it can be a little overwhelming to shop smart. Here are a few tips to help you from the moment you enter the grocery store:

* Don’t shop hungry. You may have already tried this, and know from experience that when your tummy is rumbling, you tend to shop for anything that gives you immediate satisfaction – even if you won’t be eating it until much later. Write your shopping list down, and stick to it. Make sure the list contains a variety of meat, fish, vegetables and fruit to round out your diet.

* Seek out the fresh, canned, and frozen fruits and vegetables in your grocery store. Search for a variety of brightly colored produce to get a healthy mix of nutrients. Also pay attention to what fresh items might be in season, so you can rotate your menus from month to month.

* Include some ready-to-eat options for when you need a convenient alternative. Items like Weight Watchers Smart Ones products are portion controlled, making it easy to enjoy a balanced meal. Plus, the packaging features the Weight Watchers PointsPlus values for each serving, allowing you to conveniently plan out the day in PointsPlus values. Visit www.eatyourbest.com to find a variety of options, including two new items in the Smart Ones Morning Express line: an egg, sausage and cheese breakfast wrap as well as a French toast entree that is complemented with turkey sausage. Both items have 290 calories or less and 8 grams of whole grains.

* Stock your cart with whole grains. Remember that whole grain foods often provide fiber, which could help you feel sustained for longer. Americans should aim to incorporate whole grains into half of their daily grain consumption, according to the most recent dietary guidelines. A few standard items that offer whole grains include brown rice, oatmeal, cereal and crackers. Also, many manufacturers are incorporating more whole grains into their products and calling attention to it directly on the packaging, so look for products that call out “made with whole grains.”

* Pack on the protein. Remember to choose an assortment of foods that provide protein, such as lean meat, fish, eggs, beans and nuts. Lean meats contain a high amount of protein with little to no saturated fat. These foods also contain B vitamins, vitamin E, iron, zinc, and magnesium – essential nutrients that help your body build calorie-burning muscle.

* Satisfy the desire for sweets. Yes, you are allowed to enjoy a sweet treat here and there but, be smart about how you satisfy your sweet cravings. Divide them into portions before serving so you can help prevent over indulging.

With whole grains, portion-controlled sizes, fruits and vegetables, proteins and even dessert in your shopping cart, following a healthy eating regimen this spring and summer can be a little easier, even on the busiest days.

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