It's the time of year when shoppers trying to maintain New Years' diets snap healthy foods off grocery shelves. Produce piles shrink more rapidly than normal and fish figures prominently on grocery lists.
Popular convention says it costs more to eat a healthy diet, but the reality is you can actually save money, particularly if you reduce sweets and meats. Nor is it necessary to spend a fortune at high-priced health-food stores. You can find everything you need at your regular supermarket while continuing to use grocery coupons.
Coupon Sherpa has seven tips to help guide you through the supermarket aisles to a healthy diet.
1. Begin with beans
Les legumes are an inexpensive source of protein with tons of fiber and almost no fat. If you have trouble digesting beans, start with small portions, cook them thoroughly and slowly incorporate them into your diet. You might try a bit ofBeano, if you still have trouble. (Beano is a natural enzyme supplement that helps prevent gas, bloating and other digestive problems related to eating beans.)
2. Green it up
Dark, leafy greens contain more nutrients per calorie than any other food, including B vitamins, beta carotene, calcium, iron, vitamin C and more. Some greens contain omega-3s, which can help improve blood circulation while reducing blood pressure.
3. Watch out for bad fats
You'll still need some fats in your diet, preferably naturally occurring fats, but you'll want to avoid any hydrogenated fats, including the ever-present "partially hydrogenated vegetable oil." Research has linked this man-made fat to many health problems.
4. Add seeds and nuts
The high-caloric count of nuts and seeds may seem worrisome, but they actually contain a variety of nutrients that aid in digestion and metabolism. When eaten in moderation, seeds and nuts are key to maintaining a healthy weight.
5. Keep it natural
Avoid artificial coloring, flavoring, preservatives and sweeteners. The Healthy.Happy.Life blog provides acomprehensive list of additives to avoid but, by and large, if you don't understand or can't pronounce an additive, its best to avoid it.
6. Say no to sulfites
While found naturally in all wines, sulfites often are added to products as a preservative to prevent spoilage and maintain moisture. Some people also have allergic reactions tosulfites.
7. Go with the grains
Whole grains help in digestion while filling you up so you won't overeat. These grains are filled with fiber and many nutrients that help with weight management and general body health.
8. Try soy
Soybeans provide a complete protein and are a healthy choice as a protein substitute. The beans and products made from the beans, including soy milk, tofu,tempeh and miso -- also contain beneficial vitamins, minerals phytonutrients, fiber and polyunsaturated fats.