Check your calendar: It's five months past 2016! How are your “New year, new me” and “I’m going to lose weight and live healthy” resolutions going? If you find yourself struggling to hold on to those promises, well, that’s old news.
It’s easy to make proclamations during the hype of the moment—when everyone else is posting new-year resolutions on their walls, for example. But what you should really be telling yourself is that you will start making an effort to change your lifestyle because living healthy is not an overnight process. Living healthy is a lifetime commitment and it all starts with you, and your kitchen.
Shopping for healthy meals shouldn’t be as complicated as doing calculus. You don’t need to remember a hundred tips or follow a ten-step guide just to be able to maximize your time at the grocery. All it takes are 4 easy steps to supply your kitchen with the good stuff that will help you keep you and family in good health.
1. Ask yourself: What do I need?
If it’s time for grocery and you want to fill your fridge with the good stuff, just remember what your grade school teacher taught you about the three food groups: Go, Glow, and Grow. Go foods are basically carbohydrates—they give you energy to move and do your activities; Glow foods are rich in Vitamin D, which helps you have that glowing and stress-free look; and, Grow foods, high in protein, are responsible for making your bones and muscles strong.
If you have allergies or other dietary restrictions, this is the best time to remember them because you don’t want to include them in the next step.
2. Start planning your week.
Going to the grocery or local market without a plan is like going to war without a strategy—and we don’t want that to happen, do we? That’s why before you visit your local market, plan your meals for the week first! After planning, you’ll be able to see what ingredients you’ll need. And not only will this save you the trouble of thinking what to serve yourself or your family each day of the week as you walk along the grocery aisles, it will also save you money. Moreover, if you already know what meals to prepare, you’ll find that some ingredients actually overlap. You can use that to your advantage because buying in bulk is always cheaper.
Already know what you need? Now, where can you get them? Remember, we’re living in an era where information can be accessed with just a tap of your finger. Search the web for the nearest markets with the best offerings—quality- and price-wise. While you’re at it, why not update yourself with the regulated prices of certain market goods like vegetables, seafood, and rice? You can find those information at the Department of Trade and Industry's website, prices page.
Check addresses of grocery stores in Manila here
3. Know your market or grocery store.
All grocery stores and local markets are divided into segments. One part of it will be dedicated to poultry, another one for seafood, and so on. And if you plan to tour the whole store, there’s a higher possibility that you’ll spend more. To avoid just that, use your shopping list as a map. Make sections on your list just like how markets typically have them. Group like items together: vegetables with vegetables, condiments with condiments, fresh meat, poultry, fish, and so on. This way, you won’t have to take unnecessary trips to other aisles.
No plans of spending the whole day at the grocery? (Of course, you don’t!) Find out what time of the day or day of the week a lot of people usually do their groceries. Do people in your area prefer shopping first thing in the morning or maybe after having lunch? It’s a simple hack that could spare you the trouble of waiting in long lines to the cashier.
Need organic vegetables? Check these stores
4. Learn how to store food supplies properly.
The final step is to ensure that you preserve the freshness and quality of the food you just bought. Make your supplies last longer by storing them properly. Vegetables, meat, and seafood spoil easily and lose their nutrients if not stored properly.
Most vegetables like bell pepper, cabbage, broccoli, carrots, cucumber, and other dark green leafy vegetables should be wrapped in plastic or stored in a plastic bag and placed in the refrigerator drawer. Onion, ginger, and potatoes can be stored in your dark pantry. If you’re a fan of herbs, remember that herbs like basil, cilantro, and parsley should have their stems in the water, with the whole bundle lightly covered with plastic, before putting them in your refrigerator shelf.
Fresh meat, whether it’s beef, poultry, or pork can be put in your refrigerator with the packaging it came in. Cold cuts, on the other hand, should be put in a sealed plastic bag before putting in your refrigerator shelf.
Being a smart and healthy shopper doesn’t have to be difficult. You don’t need to memorize a hundred tips about shopping to be a smart buyer. You only need to keep your eye on your goal: To live healthy! And you already know that is not a one-day feat—it takes effort and commitment. So, start with the Step 1: Go, Glow, or Grow?