“What should I eat?” Definitely one of the “most asked questions” in my field. This makes me happy because, if you are trying to achieve a fitness goal or a healthier lifestyle; THE ROAD STARTS IN YOUR KITCHEN! I don’t care how hard you workout or how much cardio you do, if your kitchen (dietary intake) sucks, your body, health and progress will suck as well. PERIOD.

Therefore, I decided to start a “Be The Better” grocery list. A list of things you don’t usually have to think twice about putting in your shopping cart…

*This is not the end all, be all grocery list. Add your favorite healthy items to the comment section or foods you may have some doubt about!! Enjoy!

MEATS/SEAFOOD

When selecting your meats thinking of one word will usually help you make the right decision, that word is LEAN! When thinking of Seafoods, think FRESH!

  • Wild Salmon
  • Chicken Breast (white meat)
  • Tuna (Fresh or can in water)
  • Turkey Breast (white meat)
  • Lean Beef (Sirloin tip side steak, Top round steak, Eye of round steak)
  • Chilean Sea Bass

FRUITS/VEGETABLES

5-7 total servings a day (fruits & vegetables) keeps the aches & pains at bay. Simple. When selecting your fruits & veggies think in abundance! Not many health professionals will tell you “whoa, you’re eating way too many veggies”. So CHOMP AWAY! Rule of thumb: Look at your plate…NO OTHER FOOD SHOULD OUT QUANTIFY the veggies on your plate.

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Also, think colors! Yes greens are great but make sure you’re not ONLY eating green veggies. Each color category packs UNIQUE nutrients, utilize them! Green, White, Red, Yellow, Orange, Blue, Purple.  <– If somebody can make an acronym out of that, I thank thee.

  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Cauliflower
  • Carrots
  • Tomatoes
  • Red/White Onions
  • Asparagus
  • Bell Peppers
  •  Squash
  •  Cabbage
  •  Beans/Peas
  •  Blueberries
  •  Raspberries
  •  Strawberries
  • Bananas
  • Avocado
  • Orange
  • Apples
  • Blackberries
  • Grapefruit
  • Kiwi
  • Apricots
  • Beans/Peas
  • Hummus

 WHOLE GRAINS

CARBS ARE NECESSARY, CARBS ARE NECESSARY….CARBS ARE NECESSARY. As you can see one of my biggest pet peeves are diets and “professionals” claiming and preaching Healthy = NO carbs. ****TANGENT TIME**** 

A carbohydrate is your body’s number one ENERGY source. When you exercise without carbs a number of ill effects are invited into your body. Yes you may initially lose a few pounds (the unsafe way), but here are just a FEW things you will have to look forward to in the long-run:

  • Regained weight: low carb diets cannot be sustained long-term
  • Decreased brain function: for your brain to function optimally it needs on average 130g of carbohydrates per day. Most to all low carb diets do not allow that much. So yea… 
  • Burning of lean muscle: since your fuel source is missing your body will turn to your muscles and protein for energy. Besides muscle loss, this slows down your metabolism and yes, you guessed it, even more weight is added.

To be fair, there are good carbs and there are bad carbs.  However, the bottom line is fuel your body with good carbs instead of NO carbs. *Special populations i.e. persons with diabetes etc. will have different requirements when it comes to carbohydrates.* A good way to tell what are some good (complex) carbs and what are some not so good (simple) carbs is to check out a “Glycemic Index” (http://www.glycemicindex.com/). 

Learning the difference between “good” and “not so good” types of carbs and sticking to recommended serving sizes when consuming carbs is essential to getting/understanding results.

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Rule #1: CHOOSE WHOLE GRAIN. Not whole wheat, not refined (white breads, pastas etc.), WHOLE GRAIN. 

  • Brown Rice
  • Buckwheat
  • Oatmeal
  • Couscous
  • Quinoa
  • Whole grain EVERYTHING (pasta, bread, tortillas etc.)
NUTS
Loaded with the good fats our body needs, mixed nuts are the easiest way to help complete your health plate. Try them all, all the time. But remember if you’re trying to lose weight, follow the recommended serving size as they pack a HIGH (although healthy) calorie punch! 
  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Walnuts
  • Peanuts
  • Peanut butter (natural)
  • Pecans
  • Pistachios

DIDNT KNOW WHAT CATEGORY TO PUT THESE IN

but that doesn’t make them any less important. (:

  • Eggs (Omega-3 Rich)
  • Low/no Fat Greek Yogurt
  • Olive oil

WATER, WATER, WATER.

Drink it and drink it often. I know its not a food but I just couldn’t leave it off this list. Liquid calories are the SILENT KILLER in fitness progress. Soda, Juice (even the ones that claim to be “healthy”) and ALCOHOL. Calculate the calories of the ingredients in your favorite drink (if it is not water). 9 times out of 10 it will be OVER 100 calories. 4-5 glasses of your favorite per day…

500 LIQUID CALORIES PER DAY = 3500 CALORIES PER WEEK = 1 POUND GAINED PER WEEK. BOOM.

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Now that the list is started you’re on your way to a better kitchen. However, preparation and portion control is key. Grilling, Steaming and other CLEAN METHODS of cooking will preserve and maintain the integrity of this list. Adhering to the portions recommended for that particular food (based on your needs) will also make or break this list. Till next time… #BeTheBetter

-B.

Disclaimer: I am not a Registered Dietitian. This list was comprised off my discussions with RD’s, Nutritionists and other health care professionals. Most individuals have specific dietary instructions and requirements. Consult with your Doctor before changing/adjusting your diet and make sure you are consuming what is healthy for YOU.

It’s the last quarter of the year stay on track & finish strong! #BeTheBetter