Grocery shopping is one of the fundamental tasks of life. Many of us started shopping for ourselves in college or when we got our first apartment right after college. Some of us still don't do it for ourselves. But, for most of us, shopping for groceries is something we can now do in our sleep.
We walk down the same aisles week after week, put the same items in our cart trip after trip, wind up cooking the same meals night after night, and eating the same foods day after day. We do this without blinking.
Most of us don't need a PhD in nutrition to go to the supermarket, but, that doesn't mean we always know what to look for when we go shopping.
Last weekend, as part of the weekend challenge for the Biggest Loser program, our resident trainer and fitness and nutrition guru Lubomyr Murashchik took us on a little excursion to a nearby Giant. At first I scoffed at this field trip. After all, I go shopping every week. And while I like to think I always pick out the right foods, I was wrong. There is always more to learn.
For example, often times, people are fooled by marketing tricks that Murashchik says are designed simply to "separate you from your money." As he pointed out, just because something says "organic," "made with whole wheat," or the newest trend, "zero trans fat," (an essentially meaningless statistic), that doesn't mean much.
A product can use whole wheat grains and even though it isn't even the primary ingredient, advertising would still indicate that. The Same goes for organic foods. A lot of the food labeled organic might be locally grown, but many of the ingredients used are not. And besides, organic doesn't always mean healthy.
The lesson learned here to to check every label, read every ingredient, and question every decision.
Another tip Murashchik had: spend the majority of your time, if not all of it, on the perimeter of the store. Fill your cart up with fresh produce, vegetables, fruit, dairy, and lean protiens.
Which brings me to another tip. Want ground beef? Have the butcher at your local supermarket grind the meat in front of you. That way you know exactly what is in it and you're not playing guessing games later.
As for my weight loss this week, the scale is still going in the right direction. Even with a Valentine's Day meal (and wine) thrown in there, I am down another 2 lbs this week, bringing my grand total to just shy of the 20-pound mark about seven weeks in.