I get asked so many questions about weight loss, and hear many comments like “I’ve eaten badly this week so I’ll come to an extra session and work extra hard this week”.
Exercise alone will NOT achieve weight loss. You need to focus on nutrition. But lots of people simply don’t know where to start. Well, in your shopping trolley is where it starts! It’s true what they say, if you keep good food in your fridge, you will eat good food.
To help you out, I’ve put together a whole lot of tips, tricks & a list to take with you at the end.
Let’s start with where to shop: Supermarket, local markets, bakery, butcher, fishmonger, health food shops & specialty shops.
- Supermarkets – if you are shopping at a supermarket, then stick to the perimeter of the shop. Majority of the products filling the aisles will be full of processed rubbish which will take your hard work and put it in the bin.
- Local markets – they are great for lots of different fresh fruits and veggies – let all of the wonderful colours draw you in, and be surprised by how cheap markets can be.
- Bakery – Whose mouth doesn’t water at the smell of freshly baked bread? See tips below on how to choose breads that won’t take you away from your goals.
- Butcher – Most butchers are natural foodies. Some of my best meat tips & tricks and recipes have come straight from the man with the knife and a big smile haha!
- Fishmonger – Fishmongers are not just great with knives, but are generally foodies just like butchers. Repeat customers generally get discounts, so don’t be afraid to make friends!
- Health food shops – some are great to pop into for things like natural nut butters – but beware, as some charge about 50% more for the same product you can get at a supermarket (umm hello chia seeds!?)
- Specialty shops – you can get so many great things from Indian or Asian supermarkets. So many colours, flavours and different ingredients to try! My personal favourite is a Mexican shop called Chile Mojo, they have fantastic burrito, taco & fajita spice mixes with nothing by spices in them.
Now let’s get into all of the good stuff. Here are some tips and tricks I’ve picked up over the years or habits that I have formed myself..
Fruit & veggie tips:
- Eat whatever is in season – it will be cheaper. And if you’re cooking that day, check out the discounted rack. You can get veggies for a fraction of the price.
- Try one new fruit or vegetable every week or 2 – you’ll be surprised at how many choices you have. Google is my best friend when I come home with things like artichoke and okra from the local markets.
- Try foods that you didn’t like as a child. Things like mushrooms and brussel sprouts are delicious – try them again as an adult, prepare them differently to your parents and you’ll be surprised that you actually do like them, you simply didn’t like soggy mushrooms and boiled-to-death brussel sprouts (Still love you mum!)
- Making a stir fry? Take a hint from the Asians who do it best and throw in bok choy and bean shoots – focus on adding, rather than taking away.
- Buy fresh and dried herbs – they are JAM PACKED full of nutrients. Dried rosemary and fresh parsley are the most nutrient dense herbs. Add them to salads, meats, soups, and pretty much everywhere else that you can.
Meat & fish tips:
- Avoid the nasties that pre-marinated meat has. You can easily marinate your own meat overnight – oil, salt & pepper is all you need. Feeling creative? Add smoked paprika, my favourite spice.
- Don’t have time? Just season as you cook. Salt, pepper, paprika and fresh parsley is my pick.
- Buy different meats – ever tried kangaroo meatballs? They’re super tasty and the leftovers go well in salads.
- Make burger patties by mixing mince (Beef, chicken, lamb, etc) with garlic, onion & herbs, then grate in vegetables like carrot and zucchini.
- Have fun with your meat – try grilling, baking, boiling, barbecue-ing. You’ll be surprised to find that you prefer different meats cooked different ways.
- Eat fish? Go for fresh tuna, salmon, oysters, mussels, even most frozen prawns don’t have added nasties – just change it up.
- Fish shops will have SO many choices – ask for their recommendations, try different varieties & recipes – ever tried shark fin soup? It’s pretty damn tasty.
- Try a butcher and/or fishmonger rather than a supermarket – you can ask how to cook different meats and get lots of tips and tricks.
- Buy FULL fat dairy products. Reduced or low fat products have been altered in a factory – we want our diets to be LESS processed.
- Try to stay away from imitations like rice & almond milk. Unless you have an allergy, stick with full fat milk.
- Like butter? Try to find one WITHOUT vegetable or canola oil…. Butter should only be milk, salt & water. NOTHING ELSE. (There’s only one I’ve found so far – Mainland buttersoft).
- I don’t want to name names but keep away from the advertised “lowers your cholesterol” and “healthy alternative” spreads – they are NOT healthy alternatives as they are made from vegetable & canola oils.
- Try different cheese every week to throw into salads – soft goats feta is my weakness!
- Snack on cottage cheese with veggie sticks. Cottage cheese is high in protein and good fats. (Dietary fats make you full!)
- Most yoghurts have loads of added sugar. Try REAL yoghurt, it’s not runny and forms a naturally occurring whey. If you haven’t had real yoghurt before, you’ll think it’s got a sour taste until you adjust. Try BD Paris Creek, or my personal favourite, Jalna Greek Yoghurt (And no, not the flavoured stuff. Add your own bananas & berries or granola later).
- Eggs! Eggs are a fantastic source of protein, and can be cooked in so many different ways. Fried, baked, as a frittata, in a quiche, on pizza, to hold together burger patties – just get them into you! Try to steer clear of cage eggs, free range or organic is good. Or if you know someone with chickens – never let them out of your sight…and pass them on to me!
Grains, breans, nuts & seeds tips:
- Regular white bread is full of added nasties, try to get away from these, and into fresh loaves instead of sliced. Try different breads each week – wholegrain, light rye, white sourdough or even dark rye.
- Not ready to hit the dark rye? Try out Paolos range of breads – they’re all easy on your gut and are available in most supermarkets like Foodland & Coles.
- Try to eat sourdough or rye bread (sourdough rye is the best option). Surprisngly, Coles makes one that doesn’t have added vegetable oil and isn’t heavy. Try the Coles Sourdough Light Rye Vienna loaf.
- Better yet take a leaf from the Europeans and buy fresh bread – get to know your local baker by popping in for a fresh warm sourdough loaf every few days.
- Love your pasta? Try to steer towards wholegrain, rice or quinoa varieties, or try slim pasta if you’re trying to lose weight. It’s made from a vegetable called conjac. Or make your own zasta – zucchini pasta.
- Love your rice? Try to go for jasmine over white. Then brown over jasmine. Or better yet, cauliflower rice. Google it, it’s the bomb!
- Love your pizza? Try to go for wholemeal bases (see the pattern here!?), or if you’re trying to lose weight, make your own from zucchini or cauliflower. Google is your friend!
- Beans! Beans have so much fibre and protein – these are fantastic for gut health! Try to get some in once per week to keep your tummy happy. Black beans & kidney beans are my favourites.
- Same goes for lentils and chickpeas. Never tried lentils? They are fantastic in soups! And chickpeas – add them whole to salads.. Or blend them up and you’ve got yourself a healthy dip. Hummus, without processed nasties – yay!
- Nuts are a natural source of fibre and good fats – You can snack on them as they are, add them into dessert recipes and cook them too– nuts are so versatile! Personally, I add cashews into veggie stir fries, into my salads and even use them to make “cream” in raw cakes. Raw or roasted, these are definitely my favourite nut!
- Seeds are not essential – you don’t need them, but they do have lots of nutrients. I like to use chia seeds in smoothies, pumpkin seeds (pepitas) in salads, and sunflower seeds in protein balls.
Oils, spreads & herbs tips:
- Avoid ALL vegetable and canola oil. Vegetable and canola oil are polyunsatured fats (the bad type) and have ZERO nutritional benefit.
- Cook, bake & roast with ghee or coconut oil.
- Use olive oil for salads and low temperature cooking.
- As for spreads, try to avoid jams if you’re aiming to lose fat. Even the “sugar free” ones are FULL of added sugars that will sit on your waistline.
- Mustards? Try them all! Wholegrain, seeded, dijon – whatever suits your tastebuds! Mix these with olive oil for a tangy salad dressing.
- Natural peanut butter – avoid the processed stuff and go with natural peanut butter. Better yet, hit up a health food shop and take your pick from peanut or almond butter, and see it churn out right in front of you!
- All dried herbs AND spices are great – my favourites are cinnamon & smoked paprika. But be careful – the pre mixed “steak seasoning” or “taco seasonings” generally contain a lot of nasties. Buy your favourite dried herbs and make your own! My go-to mix includes paprika, turmeric, garlic powder, chilli flakes, salt & pepper thrown together. Weird right? Try it, and then tell me that.
- The more creative you get, the more flavour you’ll have – everybody wins!
- Nutrition tip: dried rosemary is one of the most nutrient dense herbs, and tastes fantastic with meats such as chicken and lamb!
- Frozen berries are great for smoothies. They’re ready to be chucked straight in the blender from freezer – no risk of mouldy berries.
- Frozen peas!! Peas are little morsels of green deliciousness! They go great in everything from soups to stirfrys and even breakfasts! Weather you mash them or leave them whole, peas have got to be the best thing to come from the freezer.
- Even if you don’t like peas, you need a packet to use as an ice pack. Peas have been doing double duty forever and haven’t complained once.
- If you’re really strapped for time then you can grab a 90sec microwaveable veggie pack – they’re quick, easy and ready in roughly 90seconds, plus trying to juggle a steaming hot bag time haha.
- Apart from frozen fruit, there isn’t much nutritious food from the freezer. No, unfortunately frozen yoghurt is not just yoghurt – devastating, I know!
I’m sure there is so much more that could be added! But good enough is good enough. Ready, set, goal.
Simply write down how much you want next to the item and take the list with you. And remember, never go shopping on an empty stomach.
If you stick to this Healthy Shopping List, you will simply be eating real food! Real food is nutritious and will take you towards your fitness and health goals.