What can I say? Times have changed my friends.
Almost everyone is homebound, you may have converted your bedroom into a gym, and cabin fever has become a real thing. Am I right?
But one thing remains the same. We all have to eat. It doesn’t matter how you get your food. You may grow it, kill it, pay someone else to buy it for you, or shop for it yourself. But we all have to eat!
If you’re like me, when the COVID-19 pandemic first started, you probably fled to the store and bought whatever you could get your hands on. My husband bought a ton of bacon (why?) and a friend of mine went overboard buying cans of chickpeas! Perhaps you bought a ton of some other random thing (toilet paper, perhaps)? But I know a few things:
- I had to make a ton of substitutions because my favorite foods were out of stock
- It’s been really tempting to eat a little less healthy while I’ve been homebound
- I want to stay as healthy as possible so I can feel my best now and after the quarantine
Even if some things are in short supply now, it’s possible to get healthy options while grocery shopping. Which means it is possible to eat healthy while on lock down! So, I thought it would be helpful to put together a list for your healthy grocery shopping. Not only will it help you get through a quarantine, but it will help you prepare a meal in a pinch any day!
Grocery Shopping for Your Pantry
Want to stock up on some food, but don’t know what’s best? Stock up on canned goods like broth, beans, crushed/stewed tomatoes, whole grain pastas, and brown rice. All are good staples that you can use to put a simple meal together in no time flat.
Be choosy about which cooking oils you use. Choose cooking oils that are either monounsaturated or polyunsaturated, like canola oil, olive oil, or safflower oil which are better for your heart.
Grocery Shopping for Your Frig
It’s always a good idea to choose foods that are low in added sugar, and this period of time is no exception. That means pick foods like fresh fruits and vegetables because they are filled with vitamins and minerals that do wonders for your body. And, if you’ve noticed that some produce is out of stock, try to pick produce that’s in season because there’s a better likelihood that it will be available at the grocery store. Here are examples of fruits and vegetables that are in season during this time of year:
For your proteins, choose those that are low in saturated fats such as seafood, lean meats and poultry. Eggs, legumes, nuts, seeds, and soy products are other options as well.
And for your dairy products, go for fat-free or low-fat options including milk, yogurt, cheese, and soy products.
Grocery Shopping for Your Freezer
Another way to deal with the issue of limited fresh produce is to buy it frozen instead. Not only will frozen produce keep in your freezer for a while, but it will retain its nutrients even when frozen. In fact, frozen produce may retain more nutrients than their fresh counterparts. Here’s why: when frozen produce is initially harvested, it’s flash frozen immediately afterwards. This helps to retain it’s nutrients. Fresh produce is picked (sometimes too early), then shipped. In that transportion time, nutrients are lost.
That said, frozen vegetables make great side items for lunch and dinner. Frozen fruit can be used in baked goods, smoothies, and parfaits.
And, you can stock up on proteins and put them in the freezer to use at a later date. That way, they won’t go bad, you don’t have to worry about them being out of stock at the grocery store, and they are ready to use when you need to cook.
Want more information? Check out this awesome downloadable Pantry Essentials Guide, and the infographic below!
Last But Not Least…
Before I leave you, please beware of the following when you have to substitute your favorite items during your grocery shopping:
- Added Sugar – make sure to read the label and ensure there’s not too much. Using the American Heart Association’s recommendations for sugar intake, women are to have no more than 6 teaspoons (25 grams or 100 calories) of added sugar per day, and men are to have no more than 9 teaspoons (36 grams or 150 calories) of added sugar per day. You can read more about limiting added sugar here.
- Limit your saturated fat intake to no more than 10% of your total caloric intake per day. Replace them with monounsaturated fats or polyunsaturated fats instead. Also, avoid trans fats entirely because these fats negatively impact several cardiovascular disease risk factors.
- Expiration Dates – If you’re buying food for the week, make sure that the expiration dates extend to the end of the week.
I hope this helps you with your grocery shopping this next week. And, be sure to download the Pantry Essentials Guide, which will be a useful document to reference even after the quarantine. In the meantime, stay safe and stay healthy my friends!
Mrs. Traylor is a Fitness Instructor, NASM Certified Personal Trainer & Nutrition Coach, AFPA Certified Prenatal and Postnatal Fitness Specialist, wife, and momma who provides actionable advice for positive lifestyle changes with fitness, nutrition, and wellness. Read about Wendy’s inspiring entrepreneurial journey, and subscribe to Wendy’s newsletter here!