Grocery Shopping Tips
Grocery shopping can be tricky, especially when trying to find quality, healthy food within a budget. As a trucker, being on the road without a proper kitchen doesn’t help either.
We all are pressed for time to shop and cook, especially truck drivers. Still, we must make it a priority in our life to incorporate healthier habits. In order to eat healthier while staying on a budget, it’s important to look for food items that are versatile and complementary. You should buy ingredients that can be combined in different ways to make a wide variety of meals. For example, you should buy one kind of meat that you can use for sandwiches, as an ingredient in a salad and as a main course dinner staple accompanied by grains and vegetables.
1. Buy Quality Meat
Save yourself a ton of time and money by choosing to buy quality meat from the grocery store. This doesn’t mean buying the most inedible, misery-inducing meat. Food that doesn’t taste good is hard to eat and can lead us to refer back to unhealthy habits. However, there are cuts of meat available at a large supermarket that are as affordable as ground beef and much higher quality. The main thing is to keep your eyes open and look at the price per pound on the package.
Some regions of North America can buy chicken at a low price, while in others, beef or pork is the cheaper option. Aim for meats under $5.00 per pound. In some areas, this will be very easy, in others, not so much.
One thing you want to avoid if possible is pre-packaged sliced deli meat. Sure it tastes good, but it costs a fortune and is high in sodium! Not to mention they are mechanically seperated and mixed in with all sorts of animal parts. Typically deli meats are sold in a different unit of measurement to throw you off and keep you from noticing that it often costs $15 to $25 per pound. At that rate, you might as well buy a fancy prime rib dinner to enjoy.
2. Alternatives to Processed Deli Meats
We aren’t saying you need to become a vegan or avoid red meats. In fact, we’re encouraging you to eat meat! The amino acids found in lean proteins are the building blocks for our muscles. There are 20 amino acids in our bodies and the food we eat. Making the correct protein choices can help lower your cholesterol and blood pressure as well as reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Lean Ground Beef – Opt for the 90/10 or even better, 93/7 ground beef instead of the fattier 70/30 or 80/20 varieties. No sacrifice in flavor with the correct seasonings and all the savings on unhealthy fats.
- Pork Tenderloin – Usually has less than 4g of fat per serving and is great for simple Slow Cooker or Crock Pot recipes
- Chicken Breasts instead of thighs and wings – Boneless chicken breasts are less fatty, have more meat and are versatile to use in a variety of recipes.
3. Choosing the Correct Grains
While the most effective way would be to bake with a small portable oven, you can easily buy bread, bagels or muffins that taste great and are full of nutritional value. WARNING! You must be careful with store-bought bakery items because often they have a lot of stabilizers and preservatives in them, with processed, less healthy substances. Look at the ingredients lists and choose items that are as simple as possible: whole wheat flour, water, yeast, baking powder, sugar, and milk should comprise most of the list. If you can, choose items that are listed as freshly baked in-store. Try getting products that are whole grains or made with whole wheat flour.
4. Best Sources of Carbs to Buy
Surely meat and potatoes are a staple in most households. Although filling and full of essential minerals, there is a hierarchy of which potatoes and carbohydrates are healthiest.
- Brown Rice – Contains more fiber and nutrients than white rice and many say it even tastes better.
- Sweet Potatoes – The health benefits of sweet potatoes are endless. Full of vitamin B6 to aid the metabolism and heart health, vitamin C for immune enrichment, vitamin D for healthier bones and potassium for muscle recovery and the reduction of swelling.
- Oats – Plain old-fashioned oats are full of fiber and help lower cholesterol, much better than Cheerios ever will. Best of all they are easy to make even on-the-road with just a cup of hot water. Top them off with a handful of berries for a balanced and tasty breakfast.
The key to a healthier lifestyle doesn’t mean sacrificing flavor. It simply means choosing alternatives when grocery shopping that will be more nutritional, providing you with lasting energy as you travel America hauling freight. Happy Wellness Wednesday!
By: John Heslop