January 1st is almost here! Are you joining me on our 31-Day Real Foods Challenge ? I hope so! No matter what your health goals are in the New Year, we all can improve on the foods we feed ourselves.
It’s difficult to change the way you shop, but as with anything, after some practice it become your new norm. It really will! One tip that I always try to remember at the grocery store is to stay on the perimeter of the store. Avoid those inside aisles because they are full of processed, packaged and frozen foods. Yes some of these foods are labeled as organic or natural, but they’re still processed are far from their original real state. They still have plenty of added sugar and unneeded carbohydrates that will work against you in any efforts to loose weight or eat healthier.
Here is aÂ list of real foods that I highly recommend you pick up before the New Year. These items are all items I make sure to keep on hand. This list will assure that you have a nice variety of real foods to choose from for all meals and snacks. I prefer to shop at Trader Joe’s for these items as I’ve found that I spend a lot less here than in a conventional grocery store (Vons, Albertsons, Smart & Final, Foods Co, etc). If you’re local to the Central Coast, California Fresh Market is also a great place to pick up these items, but stick to their produce, bulk foods sections or items on sale. If you buy regularly priced items, you will spend A LOT!
In-Season Vegetables (Organic and/or Local if possible): Carrots, Avocados, Celery, Kale, Salad Mix, Tomatoes, Broccoli, Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Cauliflower, Zucchini, or any other vegetables you enjoy. Avoid white potatoes if possible, but they’re a better choice than french fries, instant potatoes or other starchy sides!
In-Season Fruit (Organic and/or Local if possible): Â Apples, Oranges, Tangerines, Â Berries, Bananas. There are not too many fruits in season during the winter, but feel free to pick up whatever you enjoy. Winter is actually a great time to learn to limit your fruit intake and avoid too much unneeded sugar in your body. 1-2 servings is really plenty! Avoid canned fruit or fruit cups as they’re typically packed in sugary syrup or juice (just more sugar!)
Nuts: Almonds, pistachios, cashews, or any that you like. Nut butters are also a must too! Keep the peanuts and peanut butter at a minimum though. Make sure they are not sweetened and only lightly salted. Raw nuts are best!
Hummus: the best and only dip you need! It’s delicious with any veggies dipped in it or spread on sandwiches instead of condiments. Look for one made with olive oil instead of canola oil if possible.
Eggs: Enjoy these any way that you like and be sure to eat the whole egg. Hard boiled eggs make a wonderful morning or afternoon protein snacks too!
Meats (organic if possible): Be sure to have plenty of your favorite proteins on hand, especially chicken breast, bone-in chicken, wild-caught fish/shrimp, ground turkey and ground beef. No sugar added dinner & breakfast sausages are also great if they’re made with whole ingredients you can understand. Beef steaks, roasts and pork can be enjoyed too in moderation.
Dairy: Try to stick to whole milk dairy (reduced fat dairy items are much more processed), whole milk, half & half, real butter, whole milk plain yogurts, cottage cheese, cream cheese, or any cheeses. You can sweeten yogurt slightly with real maple syrup or honey but try to avoid pre-sweetened yogurts.
Cold Meats: Nitrate-free salami & quality deli turkey or chicken (Boar’s Head, Columbus) are always on hand in my house. We also enjoy no sugar beef jerky (Ray’s Own Brand is my favorite).
Grains & Legumes: Brown Rice, quinoa, 100% whole wheat pasta or brown rice/quinoa pasta, old fashioned oats, steel cut oats or other whole grains. Beans, lentils and legumes are also great in soups, salads or any dish! Make sure your breads are marked 100% whole wheat or 100% whole grain. If you see “wheat flour” in the ingredients, that’s just white flour! It must say “whole wheat” or “whole grain”. Try to find a bread with low sugar.
Sweeteners: Real maple syrup, honey, Stevia, or Xylitol are all good options when you need a sweetener. Use sparingly though!
Snacks: Try to keep your snacks to any of the above items. Each day, I have nuts, jerky, veggies & hummus and hard boiled eggs for snacks.Â Avoid cereals, crackers & chips if possible (if they have 3 whole ingredients or less, enjoy them very sparingly).
Other Items: Olive oil, coconut oil, dried spices, almond butter, tea, coffee, almond milk (look for 1 ingredient only: almonds!)
Do you have other real foods that are part of your kitchen? Tell us in the comments below!
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