Friday, July 1, 2011

Weekly Challenge: Grocery Overhaul!

Alright, here's the very first challenge! Each week I'll post new challenges to keep us all on the right track! I'll be posting these on Friday because of the grocery challenges.  I know most people do Grocery shopping on the weekend, so it just made sense :)

Challenge 1: Clear out the Crap

This one is perhaps the most important, and possibly hardest, part of any weight loss journey.  Get rid of everything in your pantry that is unhealthy.  No candy, ice cream, snack cakes, chips, fatty dips.  Nothing that will cause you to stumble!  Instead fill your pantry with fruits and Vegetables, low fat dips (I like to dip my veggies in low fat Ranch dressing), plain yogurt (to go on the fruit, nuts, etc.  There are healthier versions of nearly everything out on the market.  Instead of full fat chips, get baked chips, or better yet, organic, whole wheat pretzels! Switch out the fattening pre-made bean dip, for delicious hummus! 

Challenge 2: Make a Menu
This one is as important as clearing out the crap.  It will help your budget too!  Choosing a meal plan that works for you may seem like a daunting task, but it's key to loosing weight.  No matter if you choose low carb, low fat, counting your bites, or standing on your head for 3 hours a day to lose weight, not planning properly will sabotage your diet.  It doesn't have to be too in depth, either.  My menu plan looks like this (click to enlarge):

Challenge 3: Don't Buy White

Make all of your grains whole grains.  Exchange white rice for brown.  Get whole wheat bread and buy whole wheat pasta.  You'd be amazed at how much they have switched now days! At first, I was scared things would taste HORRIBLE if they were whole grain.  I was amazed that the whole wheat pastas didn't taste very differently, at all. I even think they are better! I absolutely LOVE brown rice, but hate white.  Some flavors and textures do take a little getting used to, but it's well worth the effort!

Challenge 4: Read the label

Read the labels on just about anything you buy.  Educate yourself about healthy amounts of things to consume.  (you can start here).  There are several things you need to try to avoid altogether.  Trans Fats, I'm not an expert so can't tell you why, but stay away! (I'm sure a simple google search will get you the answer ;)) High fructose corn syrup, this stuff is in everything you wouldn't think it would be in! It's just added, often completely unnecessary sugar.  It's processed and tends to indicate a lower quality product. Partially-hydrogenated oils, your recommended daily intake of these is 0.  So just stay away, far, far away.  

Challenge 5: Lean Protein
Choosing lean proteins will help you tremendously.  Consider replacing ground beef for ground venison, turkey or buffalo (yes, you can still buy buffalo).  Eat lots of fish.  Take the skin off of your chicken breast.  Go out on a limb and try some tofu.  Heck, eat beans and rice one day for dinner or for lunch.  Swap Greek yogurt for regular, it has 16g of protein! Nuts are also a great source of protein and they have heart-healthy fat!  I'm quite in love with blue diamond sea salt almonds :)

I know this is a lot for one week.  You can break it down into smaller tasks, but it really is best if you just do it all at once.  NOW is the time to get healthy.  Breaking it down will just prolong it, and in my experience, will make it harder for you to stay on the right track.  It will be harder if you have others in the house. They won't like the change, but it's great for EVERYONE.  We are going for a lifestyle change, not a diet.  Nothing makes me feel prouder than when L asks for a plate of veggies for lunch, or fruit salad for a snack. 

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