Winter’s over and as the snow melts you’re probably ready to melt those “hibernation” pounds too. The first step is rethinking your grocery list. We tend to stock up on calorie-rich foods during the winter months, but meat and potatoes shouldn’t be the main staple in your spring meal plan.
A 2014 Cornell University study found that people adjust to the holiday eating “status quo” and sales of unhealthy foods remain 15% higher, on average, well into the New Year. Um, no wonder those winter pounds are stubborn?
If you’re still lining the cupboards with starchy foods, frozen vegetables and cookies, it’s time to up your grocery shopping game. By filling your cart with a variety of fresh and spring-worthy ingredients, you can greet summer looking and feeling better than ever!
Ready to hit the aisles? Here’s what to cross off and add to your shopping list. With a few tweaks to the contents of your cart, you can start crossing off the pounds, too!
Breakfasts That Energize You
Frozen waffles and white bread may have seemed like the easiest option on dark winter mornings, but they have little nutritional value. In fact, waffles are loaded with sugar before you drown them with maple syrup. Cereals, too—even a lot of the “healthy” cereals—are high in sugar and sodium.
Break out of your breakfast rut and spring into a new breakfast routine. Ditch the empty foods and stock up on filling, nutritious items that’ll keep you soaring all the way ’til lunch.
Smoothies are a great option, not only are they quick and easy to make you can pack them with produce, add a scoop of IdealShake and you have the perfect breakfast!
Cross Out: White bread and waffles, sugary cereals, donuts and Pop Tarts
Add: Eggs, fruit, low-fat cheese, yogurt, and whole grain bread, oatmeal, or the perfect breakfast smoothie
Waist-Slimming Lunches and Dinners
With winter’s long, cold nights behind us it’s time to leave the freezer section behind too. Incorporating whole foods into your diet will help you skip all the extra sodium, fat and preservatives. If you make vegetables the main focus of your plate instead of a heaping mound of pasta you will feel fuller faster and longer.
Cross Out: Processed and frozen foods. Caveat: frozen vegetables are better than no vegetables!
Add: A variety of vegetables (keep in mind that peas and carrots are best in moderation, because they’re higher in sugar content than other vegetables); whole grains (pasta, bread, cereal); beans and meats. With these you can make simple lunch sandwiches and fresh, homemade dinners like veggie pizza, fajitas and pasta.
Winter provides more than its fair share of excuses to binge on anything and everything sweet (i.e. Christmas, New Years, Valentine’s Day) so it’s probably time to give those sugar cookies a rest. Fruit makes for a great dessert alternative with all the sweetness you crave, plus the added benefit of fiber.
Cross Out: Ice cream, cake and cookies
Add: Apple wedges with peanut butter, pears with cinnamon, bananas with a dab of melted dark chocolate, or fruit smoothies made with calcium-rich low-fat dairy or fortified almond milk
Having five small meals a day is the trick to jumpstarting your metabolism. A few of those meals can be a simple snack to satisfy your midday cravings.
Cross Out: Crackers, chips and other foods high in trans fat
Add: Nuts, fruit and granola. Don’t forget to stock up on the right snacks to fuel your workout, too!
The Most Important Thing on Your Shopping List
If you add only one thing to your grocery list, make it variety! During colder months it’s cheaper to stock our pantries with all those starchy foods, but when fresh produce is in season there is no excuse. Variety, although often ignored, is the most important part of a healthy, balanced diet—ensuring you get all the nutrients you need, and keeping your shopping list exciting.
Next time you hit the store, see how many natural colors, flavors, textures and aromas you can put in your basket.
Note: Nutrition is only one part of the body shaping picture. The best way to lose weight will always be a three-pronged approach: nutrition, exercise and mindset. Join our IdealShape Up Challenge to double your efforts!