8 Secrets to Healthy Eating and Money Saving (While Simultaneously Outsmarting Your Local Supermarket)
In my book, “The Forever an Athlete Program”, I discuss a variety of healthy strategies for selecting high nutrient foods, snacks, and meals, which will help fuel athletic and work performance. Additional strategies include:
1. Colors – Pay attention to colors that signify our innate cues for danger/passion (reds), and growth/success (greens). Food formulators play upon our primal urges. Glow-in-the-dark greens (Mountain Dew), vibrant hot oranges (Doritos) are a case in point. Supermarkets thrive on impulse buys, but most of these impulse products supply negligible nutrients with maximal caloric load.
2. Top aisles – Eighty percent of the aisles can be outright bypassed. Unless you need to buy sprinkles for a cupcake, for instance, focus on Point #3 below. The longer you wander, the more junk you tend to buy.
3. Locate healthy staples – Shop the perimeter for fruits, veggies, lean meats, fish, eggs, beans, sweet potatoes, etc.
4. Product locations – Be skeptical of products positioned at chest and eye level. Some are indeed healthy (Olive Oil, Organic Peanut Butter), but most are highly processed and deliver the best margins for the Supermarket. Notice how brown rice and steel cut oats – all-time bodybuilding staples – are located at ankle level? These less sexy items provide low margins for the Supermarket, but maximum nutrient/cost ratio for consumers.
5. Endcaps – Observe the perfectly positioned products at the endcap and center displays. These are reserved for premium, high margin products (usually packaged, low nutrient, highly processed, highly sensational, branded foods, cakes, sodas, mixes, etc).
6. Food marketing – Be careful with products that are covered in catch words such as: “all-natural”, “reduced fat”, “organic”. Read the ingredient list first to confirm if the item is indeed healthy.
7. Buy in bulk – Shop for bulk bodybuilding foods at Costco, and get your premium free-range meats and organic specialty veggies at Whole Foods. Freeze leftover produce for smoothies.
8. Time efficiency – Try my favorite food and efficiency tip: Visit Costco on Friday night before the gym to load up on lean protein, greens, apples, almonds, free-range eggs, peanut butter, and whey protein. Put half of the produce in the fridge and the other half in the freezer for protein smoothies. Twenty minutes of shopping should last 10-12 days or so.