By: Kathryn Whittaker Go
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Healthy eating starts with careful planning and organization. Since
fresh produce has a very limited shelf life, regular grocery shopping is
a must. Creating a menu for the week and writing out a shopping list
will save you time and money; while helping you stick to healthy
recipes. Local health food stores and farmer markets are very money-wise
solutions. Plus, frequent visits will allow you expand your culinary
horizons as well as mingle with other health-concerned people.
Healthy eating means using fresh ingredients and gentle cooking methods
without adding any artificial ingredients and fats. Healthy eating
requires a lot of cooking, since take-out food often contains too many
refined fats and artificial seasonings. However, with modern appliances
you will discover that cooking is no longer an annoying chore reserved
for special occasions, but an exciting part of everyday life.
So which products should we buy when we actually decide to begin eating
healthy food? Here's what your weekly shopping list should include.
Vegetables. All vegetables should be eaten young, when they are tender
and not coarse. Vegetables are best bought from fresh food markets or
seasonal, when they are sold in boxes or baskets. Supermarket vegetables
are often genetically modified or have been picked green
and ripened in boxes when traveling long distances. Sprouts and brightly
colored vegetables contain the most vitamins and antioxidants.
Fruits. Again, the trick is to buy seasonal fruit, since exotic fruits
have often traveled long distances and ripened in their boxes, not on
trees. Local, naturally ripened or, better yet, organic fruit are the
best choice for the health-conscious cook.
Herbs. Aromatic herbs and spices can be used fresh or dried. The best
idea is to plant the aromatic herbs in pots on your window and use them
fresh whenever you need them. To preserve flavor, you can buy spices
whole and use them freshly ground.
Cheese. Although cheese is quite rich in fats, cheese is a great source
of vitamins and minerals. Buy only fresh cheeses in small quantities and
try to eat them at once, since gourmet cheeses don't
have a lengthy shelf life.
Eggs. Buy only organic or free-range eggs, and shake them before buying
to ensure freshness.
Fish and shellfish. The best way to buy fish is fresh and unfrozen.
Again, most of the fish in supermarkets comes from fish farms where it
is fed with artificial substances, and this fish cannot be used in
healthy recipes. Pink salmon and other popular kinds of fish will most
likely come from a fish farm. Shellfish is a more healthy choice, since
shrimp, for example, does not live in chemically polluted water. When
you boil mussels, discard those that do not open.
Meat. For truly healthy eating purposes it's better to skip meat
entirely, since it's almost impossible to find meat that comes from an
environmentally and health conscious farmer. Most of the meat in
supermarkets has enormous quantities of growth hormones and antibiotics.
The best meat for use in healthy recipes comes from small farming
communities or organic farms.
Grains. Whole wheat and whole grains should become a staple of your
healthy eating routine, because many healthy ingredients are contained
in the grain shell. Rice is the only exclusion from the rule, because,
even though the rice grain shell is removed, many nutritional elements
still remain in the rice grain.
What we eat become a part of us. So make your kitchen a starting point
for your new healthy eating habits, and enjoy preparing healthy meals.