The following is a guest post provided by our partners at eHealthInsurance, a leading online source for individual and family health insurance.
Your health insurance will take care of you when you’re sick or under the weather, but by eating healthy foods, you can avoid a range of common health problems.
It sounds simple enough: Eat healthy; be healthy. But all too often, our fast-paced and hectic lifestyles make it difficult to maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet. Some days it seems we barely have time to eat, let alone run to the grocery store or cook a well-rounded meal.
If you can keep your cupboards stocked with good food, however, then good eating is sure to follow. Here are a few tips to help you navigate your local grocery store.
Make a list
Grocery stores are getting larger and larger, and if you don’t have a shopping list in hand, it’s easy to wander aimlessly, grabbing things you don’t need and forgetting things you do. Generally, food essentials — produce, bread, and milk — are on opposite sides of the store. By arming yourself with a list, you’ll be more prepared to conquer the vast expanse between apples and yogurt.
Love thy produce
If you must wander aimlessly, do it in the produce section. Meander between broccoli florets and watermelons and fill your basket with color. Different colors represent different vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. The more naturally colorful your diet, the healthier you’ll be (sorry, Cheetos don’t count). Stock up on plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, and remember: the brighter the better.
Try a new fruit or vegetable every week. Who knew kohlrabi was so good in salad, or that loquats could be used to make jam? It’s tempting to have the same things over and over, but unless you have a diverse diet to begin with, you won’t get all the vitamins and minerals you need.
Fish, don’t hunt
Generally speaking, fish is healthier than red meat. Fish contain omega-3 fatty acids, which decrease triglycerides, lower blood pressure, reduce blood clotting, and enhance immune function.
Red meat, on the other hand, is linked to several different types of cancer. Try to eat mostly fish and poultry (skinless white chicken or turkey breast is best). You don’t have to give up red meat altogether, just limit your intake and try to buy lean cuts — round, chuck, sirloin, tenderloin — whenever possible.
If you can’t say it, don’t buy it
Buy fresh, organic, and natural products and avoid processed foods whenever you can. As a rule of thumb, if it’s bagged, boxed, canned or jarred, has more than a handful of ingredients listed, or lists ingredients with names you can’t pronounce, it’s probably processed. Processed foods are known to have carcinogenic properties, and have been linked to obesity and heart disease. For a long and healthy life, buy unprocessed foods with wholesome ingredients you can pronounce, like wheat, eggs, and milk.
Plan your route
Keep in mind that most of your staples, like fruit, veggies, meat, and dairy are located around the perimeter of the store. Skirt the edge of the store for what you need and try to steer clear of the center aisles, where all the junk food is lurking.
The grocery store can be a tough place to conquer, especially if you’re trying to maintain a healthy diet. By learning how to avoid the many pitfalls intentionally placed in your way, you can avoid diet setbacks and successfully stay on the path to good health!