When I was in the military, protecting the perimeter was important, critically vital to be more precise. Now, when entering a supermarket, the perimeter is equally important, but for far different reasons. If you want to load your shopping cart with foods that are healthy and will nourish your body and assist you with your health and fitness goals, not to mention provide more nutritional bang for your buck, stick to shopping the perimeter and spend little time in the middle isles.
Generally, the healthiest foods are found along the walls. Let’s look at what we find circling the perimeter of most supermarkets. The produce section, dairy case, meats and seafood are all normally found in the outlying regions of the market, while the inner isles tend to be dominated by things that come in boxes, bags, and cans. The more you can stick to fresh fruits and vegetables, low fat dairy products, and lean cuts of meat and seafood, the better. And healthier! The more you avoid the highly processed foods made with corn and soy by-products and chemicals that should be restricted to a chemistry lab, the better. And healthier!
Of the nutritious items you can load your cart with along the walls, nothing beats a variety of healthy fruits and vegetables. I’ve read different statistics, but all of them indicate that the majority of Americans consume less than the recommended amount of produce each day. It’s suggested that eating five servings of fruit and vegetables each day can lower the risks of coronary heart disease and stroke by twenty percent, versus those who eat three or fewer servings per day. A Harvard study of 110,000 men and women found that those who ate eight or more servings of fruit and vegetables a day were thirty percent less likely to have a heart attack or stroke than those who ate less than one and a half servings a day. Besides these benefits, eating more fruits and vegetables can lower your blood pressure, protect you eyes, and help you gain a more lean body. You may also find the essential antioxidants found in certain vegetables and nuts may help protect you from other sicknesses as well.
Just look at some of the nutritious and delicious foods you can find in the produce section: Romaine, Arugula, Watercress, Bok Choy, Endive, Spinich, Mustard Greens, Kohlrabi, Apples, Artichokes, Bananas, Beets, Bell Peppers, Carrots, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Garic, Eggplant, Kiwi, Onions, Lemons, Mangos, Pomegranates, Peaches, Pears, Watermelon, Berries of all kinds, Zucchini, Squash, Tomatoes, Potatoes, Mushrooms, Green Beans, Grapes, Cabbage, and much much more.
Once your cart is filled with a variety of colorful and tasty fruits and vegetables, you can finish your trip around the perimeter by selecting a few choice cuts of lean meats and seafood from the meat department. Be sure to select fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, but low in contaminants such as mercury. Wild Alaskan Salmon is one of the better selections, and there are many tasty ways to prepare this fish.
In the dairy case, look for lower fat yogurts, skim milk, and lower fat cheeses This is where you’ll find your eggs too, and newer studies have shown they are not as taboo as once believed. Eggs are a good source of protein and can belong in a healthy diet.
Sure, you’ll venture into the center isles for certain foods that you can’t live without. But if you spend most of your time, and most of your money, purchasing items found around the perimeter, you’ll find you are eating much healthier and you’ll gain all the benefits that come with such a diet.