Grocery shopping and meal planning can be intimidating for patients who have just had weight loss surgery or are trying to lose weight. In our practice, we emphasize the importance of eating protein during every meal and eliminating carbohydrates, of all forms, from your diet. However, this can be easier said than done.
A few weeks ago I listed my top 5 tips that I use when grocery shopping. These tips help me to avoid temptations at the grocery store and to ensure that I am purchasing real, healthy foods (not just the foods that claim they are "healthy"). This week I want to dive into the basics of each of the food groups to break down grocery shopping a little more for you.
Protein is the basis of every weight loss diet. You must consume protein to not only build and repair tissue, but also to produce new hormones that regulate your natural bodily functions. Protein is low in carbohydrates and keeps you full for extended periods of time, thus is it essential for anyone who is trying to lose weight.
We have all heard our parents say "eat your veggies!" But why, you may ask? Vegetables are low in calories and fat while containing a plethora of vitamins and minerals that are key to maintaining a healthy body. By consuming lots of veggies, you can reduce your risk of chronic diseases such as high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, and all those other diseases we've heard about.
For patients that are interested in losing weight, it is important to avoid starchy vegetables, such as beets, carrots, corn, potatoes, and peas. These vegetables contain 3 times the amount of carbohydrates then non-starchy vegetables and can slow weight loss if consumed frequently. Therefore, I recommend avoiding the vegetables listed above and sticking to the non-starchy vegetables of all colors, especially green.
For anyone looking to lose weight, I know you have heard how important it is to drink water! Water keeps you hydrated, boosts your metabolism, helps curb your head hunger, and best of all, is ZERO calories. However, consuming plain ole' water every single day can be boring.
Some of my favorite beverages that add variety and flavor to what I drink are Crystal Light (which is used in many of the drinks in our Summer Drink Guide), Diet Ocean Spray Juice, Powerade/Gatorade Zero, Propel, Mio, and my all time favorite—Milos No Calorie Sweet Tea (born and raised in the south, I gotta have my sweet tea)!
I also always recommend our patients drink heavy whipping cream or half and half as a coffee creamer alternative. Similarly, Premier Protein Shakes or Atkins Protein Shakes taste GREAT mixed in with plain black coffee! Otherwise they are an excellent choice for an on-the-go meal that is high in protein and low in carbs.
For patients looking to lose weight, we do not recommend fruit be apart of their daily intake. Although fruit contains vitamins and minerals, they also contain carbohydrates, hence why they are called "nature's candy". As you (hopefully) know by now, carbs are converted to sugar which is then stored as fat when it is not burned. Therefore, we recommend avoiding fruits all together. However if you must eat fruit, you should stick to those that are lower in carbs such as berries and melons.
In a few weeks I will be sharing how I incorporate these food groups into my daily eating habits and a few of my favorite meals.