The role of nutrition in improving health, body composition and physical performance has long been thoroughly examined and emphasised in the fitness industry.
The plethora of reputable and publicly available books and websites have largely helped solve the basics of what to choose to eat. The challenge most people face is how to integrate these choices (that is – make them a normal part of our day) into our lives in a way that will stick, and become habitual.
Great implementation is where the inspiring, jaw-dropping ‘before and after’ photos we see on social media come from. The reality is, we can pay as much money as we like for the perfect nutritional plan for our body and fitness goals, but unless we successfully integrate it into our daily lives and make it a habit, we’ll forever remain feeling and looking like our very own ‘before’ picture.
One of the most important parts is what we do when it’s time to do our weekly shop at the grocery store (or farmers market, etc.).
Wherever you buy your food and whatever your nutritional philosophy, here are my top four tips for your weekly shop:
1. Make it simple, and fast. I use a shopping list that breaks down my shopping items, so I arrive at the shops clear in what and where my list items are.
2. Don’t shop on an empty stomach. Research has revealed we are much more likely to choose foods with empty calories when we’re hungry.
3. Go ‘round the outside. It turns out Eminem was onto something here. There’s exception to the rule, but most of the healthy food can be found on the outside of the grocery store – that is, in the shelves along the walls of the store. The processed, empty calorie choices are usually in the aisles. Next time you’re shopping, pay attention to which parts you’re spending most of your time and money.
4. Go see a nutritionist. If you’re unclear on what food choices are best for you or you want to take your nutrition up a gear, go and speak to a good nutritionist or dietician. It’s an investment, but can pay itself back quickly and in spades in confidence (of food choices) and health.
Once we decide to take full ownership of our nutrition, the weekly shop can become a really rewarding experience. This is because it represents a clear, deliberate and major step towards great health and fitness for the week ahead.
Most people know how important choosing healthy, nutritious food is, and what the best basic choices are. Some people know how to set themselves up to make great food choices consistently, doing things like mastering the weekly grocery shop.
Be one of the few that does both!