"Health is a large word. It embraces not the body only, but the mind and spirit as well;...
and not today's pain or pleasure alone, but the whole being and outlook of a man."
~James H. West

Lisa's Blog

Healthy Shopping List: 5 Tips

Lisa Cutforth - Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Healthy Shopping List: 

"Healthy eating begins in the kitchen, whether it's in a home, restaurant, dining hall, or other venue. To get the most out of the recipes you prepare, keep your kitchen stocked with ingredients from the Healthy Eating Pyramid." (Harvard Nutrition Source, May 2011)

I am often asked by my clients for tips on healthy shopping and what to stock up on.  If you get the basics right you can make healthy eating really easy.  I have a basic shopping list which I can send through to you if you request it (just fill out a form on the Contact-Us page); however I thought I would share the following 5 tips with you as they are nice and simple and landed in my inbox this morning!

5 Tips for stocking a healthy kitchen  

The Harvard Nutrition Source recommended the following 5 easy to implement tips:

"1. Produce. Choose locally grown vegetables and fruits whenever you can. Keep on hand garlic, onions, dark salad greens like spinach and romaine, carrots, and apples. When you shop, select produce that looks good, or what's on sale."

My note: When you choose locally grown vegetable and fruit, it is usually fresher, because it doesn't have as far to travel it is usually picked later and undergoes less storage and less handling.  Therefore it is often cheaper too. The fresher the fruit and vegetables the more enzymes and nutrients present!

"2. Grains. Trade in white rice for the bounty of great whole grains: barley, cracked wheat (bulgur), oat berries, quinoa, brown rice, and a host of others. Try whole wheat pasta or one of the whole wheat blends now on the market."

My note: Whole grains provide fibre for a healthy digestive tract and are also lower in glycaemic load so will help you to manage your blood sugar, your energy levels and your weight!

"3. Protein. Rely on healthy protein such as fresh fish, chicken or turkey, tofu, eggs, and a variety of beans and nuts. And move away from the traditional mealtime paradigm of a large portion of meat at the center of your plate. Instead, build a healthy plate: half the plate vegetables and fruits, one quarter of the plate with healthy proteins, and one quarter of the plate with whole grains."

My note: Beans and lentils and pulses and nuts and seeds are a much more affordable and often more versatile way of getting extra protein into your diet.  Vegetable proteins are also kinder on your heart and digestive tract that many animal proteins.  If you do eat meat or animal protein, limit the portion to the size of a deck of cards or the palm of your hand and try to follow the guidelines above for the "healthy plate".

"4. Fats and oils. Use liquid vegetable oils whenever possible for sautéing vegetables, stir-frying fish or chicken, and as the base of salad dressings. Good choices include canola, sunflower, corn, soybean, peanut, and olive oil. A dash of a specialty oil, like extra-virgin olive oil, walnut or pistachio oil, sesame oil, or truffle oil, can make steamed vegetables come alive. Mashed avocado, rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, makes a fabulous topping for sandwiches."

My note: Here I would probably recommend that you cook with oils like coconut oil, as other oils will be destroyed or denatured much quicker through cooking. Use other plant or vegetable oils raw drizzled over your food or as salad dressings.

"5. Other essentials. Learn what chefs have known for a long time: A small amount of a high-quality ingredient goes a long way toward boosting flavor. Stock your kitchen with good-quality tomato sauce, balsamic vinegar, fresh and dried herbs, dried cherries or cranberries, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and a variety of unsalted nuts (such as walnuts, almonds, and pistachios)."

My note:  I always have fresh ginger, garlic and lemon on hand and good quality vegetable stock.  Low salt and wheat free soya sauces like tamari can also add flavour to steamed vegetables or stir fries.

Ref: 5 Tips for Stocking a Healthy Kitchen:  The Nutrition Source at Harvard School of Public Health e- newsletter, May 2011. 

I would recommend signing up for their newsletter as some great articles come through. This was an example of one I received this week (May 2011) with some great healthy shopping tips.  They tend to provide great little recipes and extra resources to accompany their literature.

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