Eating healthy sounds nice in theory. The reality is that we often reach for the closest, easiest to prepare, ready to heat, microwaveable convenience product, quoting a busy lifestyle as the reason for this. However convenience food that is supposed to make our busy lives easier is actually doing you more harm than good – harbouring all sorts of nasty carbohydrates, sugar, trans-fats, and a whole host of additives to ensure a great mouth-feel, great taste and of course a long shelf life.
The truth is it does take effort to eat well. You do need to make 1-2 shopping trips to the market or supermarket a week in order to keep your fridge well-stocked with lots of fresh, quality produce. And then of course you will need to prepare and cook the food you’ve bought into delicious healthy meals. But this effort will pay-off big time because you’ll be rewarded with a leaner, healthier body and you’ll be setting an awesome example for your kids.
To make things easier for you, I’m going to supply you with a list of 10 essential items that need to be on your grocery list every single time.
When it comes to greens; kale, spinach, watercress, rocket lettuce, and cabbage are must-haves. Throw them in smoothies or use them for salads; they’re packed with vitamins and nutrients to get you through the day. The vitamins and nutrients in question? Think fiber, protein, vitamins A, C, and K, folate, and omega-3s.
Stock up on lots of low carbohydrate vegetables like zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, celery, fennel, mushrooms. These vegetables are packed full of vitamins, minerals and fibre and contain so few carbohydrates that you can eat them by the bucketload so you never feel deprived or ever go hungry.
Hearty, colourful veggies like carrots, eggplant, pumpkin and sweet potato are not to be neglected either – their bright colours indicate a different spectrum of antioxidants that will benefit your body and bring out the best in your health. If you’re on a weight loss program, just eat more greens and less of the colourful veggies, don’t try to eliminate them altogether.
Get imaginative in the kitchen with your vegetables. You can steam them, include them in soups and savoury slices, and roast them as healthy, delicious, and easy side dishes.
Got a sweet tooth? Make sure to buy some fresh berries on your next grocery trip. Berries are jam packed with antioxidants and best of all, they are low in sugar and therefore low in calories. You can add loads of flavour to your smoothies and dairy snacks by adding fresh or frozen berries.
Coconut flesh, water and oil is all the rage at the moment…but for very good reason.
Coconut oil contains a unique combination of fatty acids can have profound positive effects on your health. This includes fat loss, better brain function and various other amazing benefits.
It contains Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) – which are fatty acids of a medium length.
Most of the fatty acids in our diet are long-chain fatty acids, but the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil are metabolised differently. They go straight to the liver from the digestive tract, where they are used as a quick source energy or turned into so-called ketone bodies, which can have therapeutic effects on the brain.
Studies have shown that the medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil have been shown to increase 24 hour energy expenditure by as much as 5%, potentially leading to significant weight loss over the long term.
Grass-Fed Butter is wonderful stuff. It’s loaded with Vitamin-K2 which is one of the most important nutrients in the diet for heart and bone health. It also contains butyrate, an anti-inflammatory fatty acid. One of the reasons fibre reduces heart disease risk may be that the bacteria in the intestine digest some of the fibre and turn it into butyrate. Unlike grain fed butter, grass fed butter contains Omega-3 fatty acids which are anti-inflammatory, nutrients that are incredibly important for the heart, nervous system, immune system and musculoskeletal system.
First up in the protein category? Eggs. They are the perfect package of everything we need to thrive and the combination of protein and healthy fats makes them unbeatable. Out of all natural proteins, egg white protein is the most easily, and completely, assimilated of all proteins by our bodies. Try and get grass-fed eggs where possible as they will contain more Omega-3 then their grain-fed counterparts.
When it comes to healthy sources of protein, fish is another great option. Snapper, tuna, sardines and salmon are additionally excellent sources of Omega-3. Avoid farmed fish if you can- their diets are likely to be grain based reducing natural levels of Omega-3.
Your shopping list should always feature quality protein from a variety of sources like chicken, turkey, pork, lamb and red meat. Animal saturated fats are not bad for your health and they will not increase your cholesterol. Fatty meat cuts also contains heaps of monounsaturated fat which has definite health benefits, so feel free to enjoy a mix of different animal proteins every day.
Just keep meat on the leaner side if you need to keep calories in check.
Add healthy pantry staples like raw almonds and seeds, and nut butters such as almond, cashew, and brazil nuts to name a few. These types of ingredients in butter or flour form can be used in all sorts of ways to create healthy snacks without gluten or grain based flours, preservatives, chemicals, or added refined sugars. Things like bliss balls, gluten free and sugar free cakes, slices and fudges.
Despite their tiny size, chia seeds are among the most nutritious foods on the planet. They are loaded with fiber, protein, Omega-3 fatty acids and are loaded with antioxidants.
Antioxidants fight the production of free radicals, which can damage molecules in cells and contribute to ageing and diseases like cancer.
This versatile little seed swells when mixed with liquid – a property that allows you to create sensational chia puddings and makes chia cakes moist and yummy.