Nutrition is of utmost importance in meeting any fitness goal. We head to the grocery store to help you find healthier foods!
The grocery store is a puzzling place to be. Walking up and down the aisles, pondering whether or not something is healthy can be an arduous task. In this article, Dual FIT will take a trip to the grocery store with you and help you choose the best foods for maintaining a top-notch physique. In order to the benefit the most from our nutrition, we need to completely remove fast food from our diet. Fast food contains saturated fats and preservatives that can harm our bodies. At maximum, you should only allow yourself one or two fast food meals a week. It is OK, however, to have a “cheat meal” once every ten meals as it can actually help the body maintain a healthy metabolism. Read our Junk Food or Health Food article for more info on identifying bad foods.
Now, let’s hop in the car and head to the market!
WHAT’S FOR DINNER?
The meat aisle is a relatively simple one. As far as beef goes, our main goal is to keep it as lean as possible. If you are buying ground beef, it’s best to purchase on the products labeled as 96/4. The first number is the percentage of lean meat content, and the latter is the percentage of fat. If you have a George Foreman grill you can get away with buying 93/7 ground beef, because the grill removes some of it during cooking. Ground beef has a negative reputation around it because of hamburgers, but if you pick the right meat it can actually be a healthy source of quality protein. For steaks, try to stick with the higher quality cuts to avoid fat.
Chicken is by far going to be the healthiest choice in the meat aisle. Chicken breast contains virtually no fat, and is stocked with vitamin B and protein. A half-slab of chicken breast contains 28 grams of protein! The best way to cook chicken breast is on a George Foreman style grill, it comes out perfect every time. Its up to you to decide what you want to spice up your chicken with, I use a cajun-style seasoning along with crushed red pepper. Brush some BBQ sauce on there for even better results.
Most people think pork is unhealthy. IF you get the right cut, it can rival chicken in healthiness. Pork tenderloin is very high in B-vitamins (more than chicken breast) and contains almost no fat. Pork still contains a decent amount of protein (18 grams), but has about thirty percent less than chicken breast. You will want to stay away from bacon for obvious reasons.
You really can’t go wrong with fish. Tilapia is a great addition to your grocery cart, one ounce contains 7 grams of protein and only 35 calories. If you are trying to lose weight, strongly consider adding tilapia to your meal regimen. Salmon is also worth taking a look at, especially for immediate post-workout recovery. Salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, vitamin B-12, and contains a high amount of protein. You can cook fish in a variety of ways. I cook mine on the George Foreman, but you can bake fish or even fry it in a skillet – with olive or vegetable oil of course.
Vegetables are essential to a healthy life. They provide vitamins needed for your body to function, a diet without them is welcoming to sickness and disease. You can cook vegetables a variety of ways, we prefer ours steamed. Stay away from canned vegetables, as they lose a major portion of their nutrients when canned. It is best to stick with bagged, frozen vegetables. These veggies are frozen shortly after picking, and the freezing process locks in the nutrients. A frozen vegetable is very close to a fresh-picked vegetable in terms of quality and taste. Steamed broccoli topped with a cheese sauce can be a delicious addition to any meal. If you are looking for an afternoon snack, try out some raw carrots with a fat-free ranch dip. A baked potato with some chive can provide you with energy-packed carbohydrates and vitamin C. Most stores offer some kind of vegetable medley. What I like to do is put it in a bowl along with some water, cover it and stick it in the microwave for about five minutes – then throw some Cavender’s seasoning on top for a delicious side item.
Who doesn’t like eating fruits? You can pick up a container of seasonal fruit at most stores that will get the job done. Since fresh fruit expires quickly, you may want to purchase a few bottles of 100% juice also. Blends of 100% juice taste great and provide all the vitamins of fresh fruit. Naked and Bolthouse Farms both have a juice that contains two servings of fruits and vegetables per 12 ounces, and they’re delicious! With juices you get all the nutrients, but lose the fiber that whole fruits have, so make sure you are getting enough fiber in your diet.
PASTA, PASTA, PASTA
Pasta is packed with the complex carbohydrates that our bodies love. If you are running out of energy later in the day, consider eating more carbs. Complex carbohydrates supply the body with the majority of its energy. Cooking pasta is easy, the hard part is choosing the spaghetti sauce to go with it. There are several canned options available on the market that taste decent, but use them sparingly as they contain a high amount of sodium. A great way to make pasta taste better is to add a third-pound or so of the lean ground beef we purchased earlier. Season it with an Italian seasoning and fry it in olive oil for best results.
WRAPPING IT UP
You can take these suggestions and build a solid foundation for your diet. When choosing healthy foods to eat, make sure you read the nutrition facts and eat moderately. Also, start tracking your calories! Tracking can help keep you motivated and allows you to monitor your caloric and fat intake. For example, if you are tracking and find that you have gone over your fat quota for the day, you can easily make changes to the rest of your meals as needed. Stay fit my friends!