Thank you to everyone who voted for me in the FitCity Mom contest a few weeks ago! I was thrilled to come in second place…and was even happier to be given the runner-up prize of a nutrition counseling session and grocery store tour with Alec Smith of Feel Good Nutrition.
I spent over two hours with Alec and received practical tips to improve my shopping and eating habits. The only painful part was filling out a three-day food log prior to our session…and Alec praised me for being honest! My daughter had just turned 8 and I didn’t have the willpower to resist pizza, movie theater popcorn, and birthday cake. Alec needed to see the temptations I was up against!
- Choose breakfast cereals with at least 3 grams of fiber and 10 grams or less of sugar.
- Use a restaurant app to make informed choices when eating out (I should have skipped that salad at Wendy’s and gone with the grilled chicken sandwich!).
- Skip the fat free salad dressing and go with a light version instead; a little bit of fat helps the body absorb the nutrients in the veggies.
- Add more vegetables throughout the day and include more lean protein at snack time
- Don’t go more than 4 hours without eating.
- Drink 70-80 ounces of water each day (Unfortunately, Diet Coke doesn’t count!).
At the grocery store, the real fun began! As a single mom I have the luxury of scheduling most grocery trips when my daughters are with their dad, so I don’t have the challenge of lugging the girls up and down every aisle or the pressure to hurry home to my family. But I confess, I still don’t take the time to read food labels and ingredient lists on what I put in my cart. So it was nice to spend over an hour in the grocery store with Alec and no shopping list, just the desire to learn so future grocery trips would lead to healthier choices. Again, Alec provided exactly what I needed, not strict rules but basic guidelines for making healthier choices for me and my family.
- The new My Plate guidelines recommend filling half your plate with fruits and veggies, so fill half your grocery cart with fruits and vegetables.
- Eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables to get the benefits of nutrients represented by the different colors
- Select lean meats by choosing cuts that end in –loin.
- Skip packaged lunch meats (most contain sodium nitrate, which has been linked to cancer) and go to the deli counter and order the low sodium variety of your favorite meats.
- Choose reduced fat cheeses or those made with 2% milk; you’ll save calories and it will still melt and taste good, unlike most fat free varieties.
- With breads, pasta, rice, and crackers, check the ingredient list and make sure whole wheat flour is one of the first ingredients listed, not enriched or bleached flour.
While I am still digesting all the helpful tips Alec provided during our two-hour visit, I am happy to say that I am already making healthier, more informed choices in the grocery store, the kitchen, and even at the drive-thru window!