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Friday, November 7, 2014

Grocery Shopping Tips


5 Things You're Doing Wrong at the Grocery Store
Brian Wansink, PhD, is the Cornell University professor who coined the term "mindless eating" and did countless studies to prove that small shifts make a huge difference.

How To Eat 7 Percent Less Junk Food
What he found: You've heard that you shouldn't go shopping when you're hungry because you'll buy more food. Wansink has found that, in fact, when we are hungry, we buy the same amount of food but more cellophane-wrapped nibbles that can be opened with one hand and devoured in five seconds flat. 
Because most people can't help but shop when they're hungry, Wansink decided to come up with a way to interrupt those urgent cravings. When he gave shoppers gum to chew at the start of their shopping trip, they bought 7 percent less junk food than those who weren't chewing gum and also rated themselves as less ravenous and less tempted by food. 
What you should do: Make sure the gum is sugarless, because sugary gum (as well as hard candy) had the opposite effect and amped up the craving for sweets.

The Best Way to Stick to Your List
What he found: The rate at which we put items into the cart is highest at the beginning of the trip and lowest at the end, Wansink says. This is great if you start in the produce section (as many of us do) and then go directly to, say, the natural foods aisle. But what Wansink observed while tracking shoppers is that after leaving the fruits and vegetables section, most people then went into aisle 2, filling their carts with whatever they found—very often it was snacks and candy. Then they started jumping around the store to top off their nearly full cart. 
What you should do: Shop the perimeter of the store first, where you'll encounter healthy options—dairy, meat, fish—when you're most likely to grab things.

How to Resist the Sample Table
What he found: When we asked Wansink, who's been analyzing people's shopping habits since 1995, what surprised him the most, he told us that he's constantly amazed by how flexible shoppers are. We all go into the store with certain healthy items in mind, and we all walk out with fattening stuff we don't really need. We're so much more susceptible to cues like advertising, sampling and packaging than we realize, he says. 
What you should do: Use these cues to your advantage. Wansink says he found that people who take an apple from home and eat it on the way to the store end up subconsciously priming themselves to buy healthy food.

A Sneaky Way to Eat More Broccoli
What he found: Those dubious-looking sauces, dips and condiments sold next to the fresh fruit and veggies are the store's way of trying to get us to spend more money, says Wansink—and it's not necessarily a bad thing. He explains that we're more likely to buy food (healthy food included) when we can imagine exactly how we'll eat it. For many people, a head of broccoli or a bunch of carrots looks like "work." But if there's a jar of creamy blue cheese dressing next to it, it becomes crudité—a tasty after-work snack. 
What you should do: Keep an eye on the ratio of junky-to-healthy food in you cart so that you don't end up with so much blue cheese that you start dipping potato chips in it.

How You Can Make Your Store Healthier
What he found: Shoppers overwhelmingly make better, healthier, less-fattening choices at stores that meet certain criteria, Wansink says. Those stores offer healthier foods in aisle 2; highlight seasonal produce; have at least one food-free checkout aisle; play relaxing music; have wider, more comfortable aisles to allow us to linger and read labels; have clean restrooms near the entrance (because we are more likely to make wise choices when we're not stressed or uncomfortable). You can find out if your favorite store is sneakily keeping you slim or making you fat by evaluating it against Wansink's checklist
What you should do: Wansink says that it can be easier than you think to boost your store's score. While shopping at his local market with his three young children, he found it impossible to avoid the treats near the registers. He asked coworkers to join him in requesting that the manager to provide at least one snack-free checkout. After the fifth or sixth person asked, the manager gave in. "People spend about $5,000 a year on groceries," Wansink points out. "That's a lot of money for a store to lose over something like candy placement."

Five Foods That Should Never Be In Your Grocery Cart
The items tossed in your grocery cart play a huge role in the health and well-being of your family. Here are 5 items that should never make it through the checkout line. 

Simple Sugars or Carbs and Unhealthy Fats

Skip foods laden with simple sugars, also called simple carbohydrates. Sugary breakfast cereals, donuts, pastries, cookies, ice cream, cakes and soda are loaded with them. Often referred to as "empty calories," simple sugars are rapidly absorbed, spiking blood sugar levels for an initial energy high. This triggers an insulin reaction, driving levels back down and creating fatigue. You'll feel hungrier and crave even more sugar. Plus those rapidly absorbed extra calories are stored as fat, putting you at risk for obesity. 
Make smart choices by selecting fiber-rich complex carbohydrates, including 100% whole grain bread, brown rice or steel-cut oats. Select whole foods such as fresh vegetables and lean meats. These all provide slow, sustained releases of energy for long-lasting fuel.  If you do crave something sweet, head for the produce aisle and pick out your favorite seasonal fruits such as pears, apples, or blueberries. 
Processed sweets and goodies also contain saturated and trans fats that clog arteries and stunt weight loss. Instead purchase items rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, like avocados and nuts.

Meats High in Nitrates and Saturated Fats
Processed meats such as cold cuts, bacon, sausages and hot dogs contain nitrates, chemical additives that preserve freshness. Nitrates have been linked to stomach cancer and other degenerative diseases. These fatty meat products are also full of unhealthy saturated fat that can raise levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol, a risk factor for heart disease and strokes. 
Ditch preserved meats altogether or look for ones that are advertised as "nitrate-free." Buy meats low in saturated fats such as chicken and turkey or eat more fish, like salmon or tilapia, rich in healthy omega-3 fats. If you must have red meat, choose lean cuts like sirloin or tenderloin.

Ingredients You Can't Pronounce
Does ferrous sulfate, thiamine mononitrate or partially hydrogenated soybean oil sound appetizing to you? Follow this rule of thumb: if a food product is made of stuff you need a course in chemistry to comprehend or if you can't pronounce the first 5 ingredients, don't let it near your cart. 
Stay focused on buying whole foods comprised of only one ingredient. Instead of snacking on neon-orange cheese curls, slice up some carrots or celery sticks. Invest in an air popper and enjoy fiber-rich popcorn. Make homemade veggie chips: cut up kale, thinly slice beets, sweet potatoes or yams, sprinkle them with herbs and a little olive oil and bake in the oven.
Fake Health Foods
Fake health foods are those deceptive foods, billing themselves as "low in fat", like certain cookies, salad dressings or yogurt brands. Look closely at their labels. To make up for flavor, these items are inevitably high in sugar or salt. Other tricky foods include packaged breads and crackers with labels stating "contains whole grains." This often translates into considerably less fiber than 100 percent whole grain products. 
Again, choose real foods as much as possible. If it's a sweet tooth you need to satisfy, buy tasty dried fruits, such as apricots or mangos.

Canned Foods High in Sodium
Eighty percent of our sodium intake comes from processed and canned foods. In fact, many canned foods are so chock-full of salt, they contain half or more of your daily recommended intake. A diet high in sodium is dangerous since it can lead to high blood pressure. 
Instead of buying canned soups, try making your own simple versions, like a healthy carrot soup or hearty lentil. If you don't have the time to cook, purchase canned soups low in sodium. 
To lower your overall sodium intake, try seasoning foods with more herbs, both dried and fresh. You'll rely less on table salt for flavor. 

Dr. Oz's Longevity Grocery List
Fill your cart and stock your shelves with nutrient-rich foods that can add years to your life. Start at the bottom (super important) and work your way to the top (very important) of Dr. Oz's food pyramid. 

Note: Serving sizes should be about the size of your clenched fist, except for animal proteins, which should be about the size of a deck of cards. 

Level 1: Vegetables, 4 servings a day
Jicama, Kale, Sweet Potatoes
Vegetables are the base of Dr. Oz's food pyramid, and the most important tool in fighting every major killer in America: heart disease, hypertension and cancer. 

 Jicama is a slightly sweet and crisp root vegetable that is high in potassium, which helps to reduce high blood pressure. 

Kale is high in flavonoids, which kills off cancer cells. 

Sweet potatoes are high in beta carotene, which helps to build heart-healthy vitamin A within the body. Microwave or steam vegetables with as little water as possible to retain the maximum amount of nutrients. 

Level 2: Whole Grains, 6 servings a day
Teff, Amaranth, Millet
Whole grains are the next level up. Whole grains are high in fiber and necessary to colon health. Teff,amaranth and millet are whole grains popular in other parts of the world but now widely available in the US. These whole grains are high in protein. One key to longevity is getting more of your protein from plants instead of animal sources. They are also high in calcium, which helps to strengthen bones, and omega-3 fats which are critical to brain health. Millet is also a great source of B-complex vitamins.

Level 3: Fruits, 3 cups a day
Mango, Dates, Apples
Nearing the top of Dr. Oz's food pyramid are fruits, which pack an anti-aging one-two punch. The flesh of fruit contains vitamins and minerals, and the skin is loaded with powerful anti-agers due to a higher concentration of nutrients. 
Mangoes help fight cancer and heart disease, and can attribute their beautiful color to beta carotene. As a result of the drying process, dried fruits like dates are high in antioxidants. They are also a great source of magnesium, which helps the body maintain normal muscle and nerve function, steady heart rhythm and strong bones; they are also good for blood pressure and blood sugar regulation. 
The old saying still stands true. An apple a day may be the ultimate longevity MVP, loaded with fiber, antioxidants, folate and vitamin E to fight Alzheimer's; and a flavonoid called quercetin that protects the brain against the oxidative stress of daily life.
Level 4: Proteins, 3 servings a day
Trout, Tofu, Brazil nuts
Protein is an all-encompassing category that incudes meats, beans and nuts. Trout and tofu are high in omega-3 fats, which ensure normal brain function and lower the risk of dementia. Omega-3s are essential to brain health as they provide the building blocks for brain cell renewal. Brazil nuts contain selenium, an antioxidant that fights the free radical damage that can cause cancer. 

Level 5: Dairy, 2 servings a day
Greek yogurt, Feta cheese, Buttermilk
Lastly, with the least amount of servings, is dairy, which is especially important for women. Dairy contains calcium and is fortified with vitamin D – Dr. Oz's number-one recommended supplement – to strengthen bones and fight against the onset of osteoporosis. 
After you're done unloading the car, get busy in the kitchen with these longevity recipes. Learn to stay younger longer and stretch your dollars with Dr. Oz's Cheapskate Guide to Living Longer

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