If you aren’t used to eating healthy, then grocery shopping can take hours! Looking at numerous labels, comparing prices, and trying to find the best deals for your money can be enough to drive you crazy. So Fit Tip Daily is taking some of the guess work out of the dreaded grocery store. Here’s a list of some foods that should be in your shopping cart!
>> Why it belongs in your cart: The darker green leaves of romaine do more to boost bone health than its iceberg cousin because they offer more vitamin K—about 4 1/2 times more—which is needed to make bone protein. Women with the highest concentrations of vitamin K in their diets(at least 109 mcg per day, the amount in roughly 2 cups of romaine) have the most fractureresistant bones, according to a 1999 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Romaine also provides folate, a B vitamin you need to prevent a type of anemia that saps your energy and derails your workout routine. Just 1 cup of romaine supplies 75 mg of folate, nearly 25% of what women require on a daily basis.
>> Why they belong in your cart:Sweet potatoes are a slow-digesting carb that stabilizes blood-sugar and insulin levels—meaning more endurance, less hunger and less stored bodyfat. As a result, it’s a great preworkout carbohydrate that provides potassium by the boatload. Sweet potatoes also contain the most carotenoids of all vegetables. Carotenoids ward off cell damage from everyday metabolism and challenging physical activity.
>> Why they belong in your cart:Any berry is good for you, so take your pick from blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and cranberries, to name a few. Berries contain a bevy of nutrients, including powerful antioxidants and vitamins that ward off cell damage and foster cell repair. Berries are also natural pain-relievers. The anthocyanins (beneficial plant compounds) in blueberries, raspberries and strawberries ease postworkout muscle aches.
>>Why it belongs in your cart: Ounce for ounce, kiwifruit are higher in vitamin C than any other fruit, with the exception of guava. If you’ve never tried this small fuzzy fruit, it’s time to be adventurous. Getting enough vitamin C is critical for burning fat during exercise, according to a report in Nutrition & Metabolism. Vitamin C is involved in the production of carnitine, a compound crucial to fat oxidation. In the study, those people with marginal levels of vitamin C used significantly less fat for energy than those with an adequate amount in their blood. Thus, inadequate vitamin C in the diet may work against weight control, even in people who work out regularly. In addition, two medium kiwis—about 100 calories worth—provide more potassium than a medium banana.
>> Why it belongs in your cart:The bird is particularly rich in the amino acid leucine. Preliminary evidence reported in the August 2006 European Journal of Applied Physiology suggests that leucine supplements enhance athletic performance by helping to facilitate efficient protein synthesis in athletes. Chicken is also a low-fat source of high-quality protein that boasts a number of vitamins and minerals which contribute to peak energy levels.
95%-LEAN GROUND BEEF
>> Why it belongs in your cart: Don’t reach for just any type of ground beef—there’s a big difference in nutritional value. A serving of 95%- lean ground beef (about 3 ounces) serves up an additional 6 grams of protein (21 grams total) and saves 150 calories and 9 grams of fat over its fattier counterpart, 75%-lean ground beef. Like other meats (and eggs), beef boasts high-quality protein, which means it provides all the amino acids you need to maintain and build muscle. A 2005 Journal of Nutrition study found that diets rich in high-quality protein make weight control easier for active women by helping them retain muscle while shedding fat.
>> Why it belongs in your cart: Yogurt contains protein, but its stellar calcium content is why it’s worth eating. Calcium may help women stay slim as long as they continue to exercise and eat a balanced diet. The most convincing explanation for how calcium might exert its slimming effects is that a low calcium intake is known to increase the concentration of calcium within cells, thus signaling to the body that it needs more fat. This, in turn, inhibits fat breakdown. In addition to protein and calcium, yogurt supplies live active cultures to enhance digestive health and immunity.
>> Why it belongs in your cart: Cottage cheese is a top-notch source of protein that contains less calcium than yogurt but more protein. Just a half-cup of low-fat cottage cheese provides 14 grams of protein—about the amount in 2 ounces of cooked poultry, meat or seafood—for only around 100 calories. And cottage cheese is always ready to eat, so it’s a great way to increase protein intake. A report in a 2005 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicated that getting 30% of your daily calories from protein (about 160 grams for a 2,000-calorie diet) helps you eat less overall. When study subjects doubled their protein without changing their calories and were allowed to eat whatever else they wanted, they took in fewer calories than when they were on a lower-protein regimen.
>> Why they belong in your cart: Egg protein is considered the gold standard because it provides all of the amino acids your body needs. In fact, all other sources of protein, including meat, seafood and dairy foods, are judged against egg protein quality. And eggs are filling, according to research published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. Women who ate an egg breakfast consumed an average of 164 fewer calories at lunch compared to a group of women who ate a bagel breakfast, even though both mealssupplied the same number of calories. Even better, the egg eaters reportedly took in 400 fewer calories for the 36 hours after their egg meals. As if they weren’t good enough on their own, eggs now contain added nutrients, most notably docosahexanoic acid, or DHA—an omega-3 polyunsaturated fat that has been linked to reduced inflammation in the body.
CENTER AISLES WHOLE-GRAIN BREAD
>> Why it belongs in your cart: Every woman, active or not, needs at least three servings of whole-grain foodseach day to foster good health. And when it comes to grains, the whole is better than the sum of its parts. Research suggests that the individual nutrients and plant compounds found in whole grains act together to deliver beneficial effects. When you’re watching your waistline, the fiber in whole-grain bread comes in handy. According to Barbara Rolls, PhD, researcher and author of The Volumetrics Weight-Control Plan, getting enough fiber is key when you’re trying to keep calories low because fiber adds bulk to foods without increasing calories. As a result, you feel fuller while consuming less. Aim to get about 25 grams of fiber every day.
>> Why it belongs in your cart: Oatmeal is rich in fiber, filling you up for relatively few calories. Most instant varieties are fortified with iron, necessary for making red blood cells that carry oxygen to working muscles. A whole grain, oatmeal is naturally rich in the mineral manganese, which is required for strong bones as well as amino-acid and carbohydrate metabolism. Just one packet of instant oatmeal supplies nearly all the manganese you need in a day.
>> Choose the best: Most instant oatmeal in packets is loaded with sugar, which increases calories. Look for oatmeal that contains no more than 160 calories, 7 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber.
EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
>> Why it belongs in your cart:Do you eat salads in the name of good health, feeling virtuous because you top them with fat-free dressing? You may be missing out on fat, but you’re also coming up short on carotenoids. When researchers fed test subjects salads that included romaine lettuce(see “Produce Section”) with fat-free, low-fat or fullfat dressings, they discovered that the fattier the salad dressing, the greater the body’s absorption of carotenoids. Olive oil provides the perfect base for salad dressings for active women because it’s rich in heart-healthy unsaturated fat. Olive oil also supplies oleocanthal, a natural substance that acts like overthe- counter pain-relievers to ease muscle pain from tough workouts.
One of the best ways to avoid all those bad foods at the grocery store is to just shop on the perimeter of the store. All the excess junk is usually in the middle! You will also save yourself a lot of money by not buying all the over processed foods.