Shopping the Perimeter at the Grocery Store
Shopping the perimeter is an important part of lifestyle change. It is referring to the practice of shopping the outside walls of the grocery store, including the produce, the deli, the fresh meats, and dairy section, and avoiding the prepackaged, processed, dried, and canned foods that are available in the interior shelves.
Keeping fresh food in the house is one of the most challenging parts of maintaining a good, fresh, nutritionally sound meal plan. Restaurant eating, with few exceptions, is not a healthy course of action unless it is done carefully. Fast food eating is nearly universally a bad habit, with even the healthier choices being devoid of real nutritional value. Salad bars can even be a minefield. Perimeter shopping keeps all the power of dietary control within the shopping cart – making fresh meals and good choices much easier, and keeping un-necessary carbs, dyes, preservatives and mystery ingredients to a minimum.
There is nothing wrong with frozen vegetables if that is what it takes to keep vegetables in the house. However, truly great nutrition requires fresh vegetables; raw as well as cooked, and raw vegetables can undo a world of sins in the snacking department. They also offer a long life in the refrigerator if the right choices are made. Celery and carrots in particular pack a good crunch, and are far better than the average offerings of the office vending machine. Obviously fresher carrots and celery are better, but if 3pm snacking is habitual, having something there as a healthy option becomes the point. Other great options are yogurt, and nuts.
Perimeter shopping is just one out of a great toolbox of options that one can employ to make everyday living a healthier (and tastier) experience. A little creativity and a little more effort can really make a big difference in the big picture.
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