fitness · food · health · healthy · lifestyle · self care · self love

What’s in My Grocery Cart? Part I

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard the old adage: Abs are Made in the Kitchen.

So what if you’re not interested in ripped abs? What if you’re looking to possibly lower your cholesterol, shed a few pounds of winter fluff, or simply feel good in the skin you’re in? 

Regardless of your health and fitness goals, eating clean, nutrient dense food is critical for your overall health and well-being. Since I’ve been asked quite often what I buy and how I eat clean during the week, I thought I’d start a new series “What’s in my grocery cart?” – to give you an idea of what to buy each week to ensure you stay on track eating the critical nutrients needed to fuel yourselves for a busy work week ahead. 

So let’s get started!

Where I shop: Sprouts, Trader Joes, Whole Foods and Costco

Yes, I tend to hit almost all four on any given week. Sometimes I really go nuts and hit all four in a day! I personally like certain products at each store, although for those less picky I’m sure 1 or 2 of these would suffice.



PROTEIN
Boneless, skinless chicken breast: Organic is ideal, although sometimes I purchase chicken free or added hormones and antibiotics.
Ground Turkey Breast: Breast is key here. Ground Turkey includes dark meat and has a higher fat content.
Egg Whites: I buy enough egg whites to feed a small village. They are literally one of the best ways to get in additional protein (I mix them into my oatmeal, eat them alone, in omelets, in protein shakes, you name it!) without any added fat or sugar and minimal calories.
Non-fat plain greek yogurt: I love the Fage brand, but any will do. Just ensure it’s plain and non-fat. This can be made into sweet snacks (mix some fresh fruit and chia seeds in for an awesome pre-workout snack) or savory (mix with lime zest and fresh lime juice to replace sour cream). Tons of protein, minimal sugar and it’s fat-free. Winner winner!
Whey/Casein protein powder (Bodybuilding.com): I am quite obsessed with PEScience Peanut Butter Cup protein powder. In my shakes, in my morning oatmeal, mixed into egg whites, you name it. Low calorie, fat, carbs AND sugar… all while high in protein #winning. Whey protein is quick to digest, while casein takes quite a bit longer (leaving you fuller longer!) so a blend seems to work best for me – but there are PLENTY of proteins on the market – including plant-based and egg based, so my best advice is experiment until you find one that works best for you. 

FATS
Roasted unsalted nuts: Be sure they’re unsalted otherwise you’ll retain water and take in way too much sodium. Always be sure to weight or count out your portions. Unsalted nuts are good for you, but too many are not. Fat is fat. 
Buff Bake Snickerdoodle Almond Butter (I buy this online): Literally my favorite tasty treat. On toast, in oatmeal, on an apple, out of the jar with my bare hands… you catch my drift.
Avocado: Again, watch your portions here. 2 ounces of avocado is considered a nice, healthy amount.
GRAINS
Sweet potatoes: Cut into “fries” and roasted at 400 with a sprinkle of cinnamon is my favorite way to prep these bad boys.
Gluten-free oat cereal: BE SURE any cereal you purchase has less than 9g sugar
Old-fashioned oats from Costco: Again, enough to feed a small army. I cannot get enough of these!
Ezekiel bread: I loooove the cinnamon raisin English muffins and consider 1/2 to be one portion. These are hearty and thanks to a ton of various grains, will keep you full so much longer than your regular ‘ol slice of bread.

FRUITS
Apples: I’m a total brat and only will eat Honeycrisp or Pink Lady. I love storing them in the fridge and keeping them nice and cold and crunchy!
Berries: Give me all.the.berries!
Bananas: I try and limit the amount of bananas I eat as they’re very high in sugar and carbs, so stick to 1/2 of a large or one small as a single portion. They are great sliced with almond butter or frozen and thrown into protein shakes!
Lemons: For my water and cooking
Limes: Same as above 🙂
Frozen cherries: Perfect for protein shakes! Love the combo of chocolate and cherry!

VEGETABLES
Frozen riced cauliflower from Trader Joes: Great for stir frys, homemade pizza crust or as an easy substitute for rice in any dish!
Spinach: Try throwing a handful into your next protein shake. It may change the color but I promise you won’t be able to taste it!
Red and Yellow Bell Peppers: Because I’m a weirdo and don’t like the taste of the green ones
Fresh garlic: Makes everything taste better!
Fresh ginger root: I LOVE grating this into my food – it adds such a burst of flavor!
Snap Peas: Dip these bad boys in hummus for a tasty (and healthy) afternoon snack
English cucumbers: Because I’m too lazy to peel the waxy layer off of regular cuces! Love thinly slicing these for water or dipping in hummus. 

TIPS
Keep fresh fruits on the counter to encourage yourself to eat them! 

If you work in an office and don’t have time to cook, try prepping meals in advance. Overnight pr-oats are easy and delicious – truly giving you NO reason to skip breakfast (YES – it’s one of the most important meals of the day!).

Have FUN. Use romaine leaves as wraps for sandwiches and tacos. Experiment and come up with creative substitutes to your favorite meals. My blog has quite a few healthy swamps (more to come!) and when all else fails, Pinterest is a great resource!

I hope the list above was helpful! Remember that eating well is all about finding what works for YOU and your family. If you don’t like asparagus, don’t buy it! Eat what you enjoy and cook for those you love. Food is fuel and your body is the machine but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. If my contest prep taught me anything about nutrition, it’s that elimination diets don’t work for the long term. That’s why a lot of us fitness competitors end up developing food allergies/intolerances (after eliminating a certain food group for long enough our bodies stop being able to process it!), we lose our menses (not eating enough healthy fat!) and we become downright miserable eating the same 5 foods over and over. Life is short – live and enjoy. Treat your body as a temple and you’ll see the rewards in no time. 

I’m also excited to share with you all that I have some more nutrition-related posts coming your way – so expect to see some fun new articles about:
  • 5 Diet Rules You Should Break Right Now
  • How to Deal with Impossible Cravings 
  • Meal Prep Made Easy
  • 5 Tips for Succeeding at Your Health and Nutrition Goals!
  • 7 Must-Haves for a Stocked Pantry
  • How to Develop a Proper Vitamin and Supplementation Plan 
Anything new you want to see?? Other topics you’re interested in? Let me know!! I want this blog to be a useful resource for you as you strive to live a balanced, active and healthy life!

XO,
Jenn

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