A Food Shopping Strategy


 As cross training is important for body balance, remember to purchase and try different foods for the board range of nutrition value it provides.  Don’t single out or focus on foods that state organic, antioxidant, phytochemical, functional, or supplements that claim to provide a similar nutritional benefit.  Instead, choose a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, lean meat, poultry, fish, and meat alternatives.

Of course everyone reacts to and absorbs foods differently due to enzyme deficiencies. When your GI tract/ intestines lack enzymes to metabolize specific food products, the food remains undigested this creates bacterial fanfare in your GI tract.  This translates into various degrees of stimulation or distension of the bowel.  Lack of specific food enzymes for example represent the inability to metabolize dairy products, grains or beans which release bacteria in charge of metabolizing the foods your body can not deal with which in exchange creates enough gas to run your car.  These GI problems are referred to as food allergies, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), food aversions/psychological response to specific food, infections, and parasites.

Pay attention to “how” your body reacts to foods when consumed.  Once you recognize that the food does not agree with your intestinal tract, eliminate, minimize, or try something else.

Advice concerning a Balanced Diet

  • • Consume a variety of nutrient-dense foods and drinks among the basic food groups. Choose foods that restrict your intake of saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, added sugars, salt, and alcohol.
  • • Follow a balanced eating pattern, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Guide or the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Eating Plan.

Recommendations for a Balanced Diet

  • • Consume an adequate amount of fruit and vegetables but stay within the correct calorie level for a healthy weight.
  • • On a 2000-calorie diet, eat 2 cups of fruit and 2 and half cups of vegetables per day. Eat more or less according to your calorie needs.
  • • Eat a variety of fruit and vegetables each day. Choose from all five vegetable sub-groups (dark green, orange, legumes, starchy vegetables, and other vegetables) several times a week.
  • • Consume 3 or more ounce-equivalents of whole-grain foods each day, with the rest of the recommended grains coming from enriched or whole-grain products. At least half your grains should come from whole grains. Eating at least 3 ounce-equivalents of whole grains per day can reduce the risk of heart disease, may help with weight maintenance, and will lower your health risk for other chronic diseases.

Consume 3 cups per day of fat-free or low-fat milk or equivalent milk products. Adults and children can consume milk and milk products without worrying that these foods lead to weight gain. There are many fat-free and low-fat choices without added sugars that are available and consistent with an overall healthy dietary plan. If a person has difficulty drinking milk choose alternatives within the milk food group, such as yogurt or lactose-free milk.

  • • Consume the enzyme lactase prior to the consumption of milk products. For people who must avoid all milk products (e.g. individuals with lactose intolerance, vegans), non-dairy calcium-containing alternatives may be chosen to help meet calcium needs.

1.  Hug the Perimeter

Typically the fresh produce like breads, meat, poultry, fish, and dairy are available on the perimeter. When you opt for the fresh and organic items, you tend to avoid most chemicals used in the manufacturing process and packaging which add to our landfills.  When choosing foods check the nutritional fact panel and the ingredients list; choosing food products with minimal ingredients. For example, choose a plain vanilla yogurt or fiber rich cereal and add fresh fruit.

2. Fruits and Vegetables

Organic labels ensure your fruit and vegetables haven’t been dosed with pesticides and tend to be of superior nutritional quality.  Or you can choose to buy the regular fruit and veggies with the thicker protective skin which can be peeled away. Buy a variety, and go for color and freshness.  The more colorful the produce, the more phytochemicals the food contains. Now a day you can get a variety of convenient fruit and vegetable items in ready-to-eat bags or pre cleaned and cut which makes preparation easy.

When buying fresh, frozen, or canned purchase:

> Basil                                    > Onion                      >Ginger                      > Thyme

> Bok Choy               > Napa                                   > Tomatoes               > Sweet Potatoes

> Purple Potatoes    > Sweet Pepper       > Carrots                   > Cumbers

> Mushrooms                        > Zucchini                  > Leeks                      > Scallions

> Purple Onion         > White Onion           > Brookline                > Leafy Greens

> Spinach                  > Berries                    > Cauliflower             > Celery

> Kiwi                         > Radish                    > Bananas                 > Pears

Carbohydrate in a Balanced Diet

  • • Eat fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, and whole grains as often as possible.
  • • Consume foods and drinks with little added sugars or caloric sweeteners. Follow the recommendations in the USDA Food Guide and the DASH Eating Plan.
  • •

Tidbits on Produce

.  Potassium, a mineral abundant in fruits and vegetables, help your kidneys to excrete excess sodium which in turn contributes to healthy blood pressure.

Dietary Fiber found in fruits and vegetables improves glucose control and cholesterol levels.

.  Vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals (such as lycopene) found in fruits and vegetables seem to protect the blood vessels leading to the heart from damage by free radicals.

.  Fruits and vegetables are low in calories and rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and disease-fighting phytonutrients.

.  Tomatoes have an abundance of bio available LYCOPENE yet to derive the benefit of lycopene, you must apply heat for higher absorption.

3. Eat what is in Season

Choose fruits and vegetables that are in season and grown in the area. Less travel time means reducing the carbon footprint, which means travel time and expense. If you need more information regarding what is considered seasonal go to www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org.

4. Select Baked Breads from Local Bakers in the Area

Look for organic, 100 percent whole grain, fiber rich or sprouted breads and waffles.  You will find these items in the frozen food organic area of a store.

5. Purchase the Right Dairy

The skim, 1%, or 2% organic variety of milk, low fat yogurt with the least amount of sugar, part skim-low fat or reduced fat cheese, trans fat free margarine fortified with omega-3 fats, eggs fortified with no hormones or steroids.

6. Seafood, Poultry and Meat

Look for food items that have minimal saturated fat and omega-3 fats. Purchase fish fresh or frozen and wild caught for superior nutritional value. Buy skinless poultry fresh or frozen, organic, without hormone or steroids, or artificial ingredients. When selecting, beef, pork, lamb, or other meat food products, go for the lean low fat cuts. When choosing bacon substitute turkey bacon or Canadian bacon. In the case of ground beef purchase low fat beef or substitute with ground chicken or turkey.

Dietary Protein in a Balanced Diet

The Dietary Guidelines did not directly address the issue of protein. They state:

“While protein is an important macronutrient in the diet, most Americans are already currently consuming enough and do not need to increase their intake. As such, protein consumption, while important for nutrient adequacy, is not a focus of this document.”

However, they do recommend you to choose foods that contain lean protein. They state:

Eat lean meats and poultry. Bake, broil, or grill food.
Eat a variety of protein rich foods, with more fish, beans, peas, nuts and seeds.

7. Know your Cereals

Purchase 100 percent whole grain without hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils, 5g or more of fiber per serving and 10g or less of sugar.

8. Discriminate when it comes to fat

Look for monounsaturated oils, minimize or avoid polyunsaturated, saturated oils, Trans fat (hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated) and shortenings.

Dietary Fat in a Balanced Diet

  • • Eat less than ten percent of calories from saturated fats and less than 300 mg/day of cholesterol, and eat as few trans-fats (hydrogenated fat) as possible.
  • • Maintain your total intake of fats/oils at between 20-35 percent of calories, with most fat coming from polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat, such as oily fish, nuts, and vegetable oils.
  • • Regarding meat, poultry, dry beans, and milk or milk products, choose lean, low-fat, or fat-free options.

9. Rice, Grain, and Pasta

Purchase whole 100% whole grain products and protein enriched

Packaged Foods to have in your pantry:

> Basmati/Brown or Wild Rice       > Whole Wheat Flour

> Whole Wheat Pasta                                 > Polenta in the tube

> Couscous                                       > Barley/Quinoa

Factoid: Gluten-free foods –are not necessarily better for you.  Gluten-free may be displayed on many wheat products now a days yet there is no validated science showing that eating a gluten-free diet gives you additional benefits.  These special food products are actually designed solely for individuals suffering from celiac disease, a disorder that makes the body unable to digest the gluten protein found in wheat, rye, and barley.  If you have no allergies to wheat products, then going gluten-free foods can cause weight gain in the normal individual.  These special food products are often higher in fat, calories, and refined carbohydrates, while being lower in dietary fiber, whole grains, and nutrition. For more information visit Coach Conner’s GLUTEN article.

10 Beans and Legumes fresh, dried, or canned

>Black, Small Red, Kidney, Northern Beans and Chickpeas

This 10 step shopping strategy represents the foundation of good eating habits.  Yet when it comes to actually losing the weight, one size fits all is not an option.  Success depends on your readiness to customize an eating strategy that works with your food preferences, limitations, and life style!

Regardless of whether you are prepared to knock out a meal made from fresh produce, wild caught fish, and organic whole grains, I strongly suggest that you stockpile some basic ingredients in your pantry.  Make sure you have some of the following items in your kitchen:

11 Pantry Items

> Canned diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and shredded dried tomatoes

>Whole wheat dried pasta

>Basmati rice


>Original couscous

>Dried barley

>Canned organic black beans, small red beans, chickpeas

>Refried black beans, refried vegetarian beans, refried original beans with sausage

>Wolfgang Puck organic vegetable broth and chicken broth

>Imagine or Pacific organic soups like Black Bean and Sweet Pepper

>Peanut Butter by Naturally More fortified with Flaxseed and Flaxseed oil or maybe   some nut butter like Cashew or Walnut butter

>Breading and crumbs like Panko, Tempura, and Italian Herb

>Oils like Canola oil, Olive oil, Sesame oil, Grapeseed oil, and Peanut oil

>Standard seasonings like Crazy Salt, Garlic Pepper, Lemon Pepper, Cumin, Turmeric, and Taco Seasoning

>Dried onion and shallots

>Basil Tomato Sauce

Dietary Sodium and Potassium

  • • Eat less than 2,300 mg (approximately 1 teaspoon of salt) of sodium per day.
  • • Choose low-sodium foods, and do not add salt when cooking. Also, eat potassium-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables.

12. Refrigerator Items

>Squeeze Seasoning blends like Gourmet Garden Herb Blends in Cilantro, Basil, Oregano, Parsley, Ginger, Dill, and Chili Pepper

>Organic Eggs fortified with Omega-3s

>Berries, bananas, kiwi

>Spaghetti Squash, cucumbers, sweet orange, yellow, and red Peppers, Pablano peppers, purple and white onion

>Unsalted sweet butter and lightly salted butter

>Plain Greek Yogurt, low-fat vanilla yogurt, low-fat Ricotta Cheese

>2% or 1% Organic Milk

>2% Cheese or reduced fat cheese like Gorgonzola, Feta, Swiss, and Cheddar then of course don’t forget mozzarella, provolone, gruyere, blue cheese, asiago, and parmesan

>Get some prepackaged Melissa products like their Baby Beet (www.melissa.com), Wholly Guacamole (www.fresherized.com), Hormel natural choice carved chicken breast or easier yet a roast chicken.

>Lemon and lime for dressings instead of vinegar

>Dijon and wasabi mustard, lite soy sauce, chopped or minced garlic

>Salad dressings like Makoto Ginger dressing, Caesar, or Blue Cheese

>V8 juice (great for gazpacho)

>Apricot, Wild Blueberry, and Cherry jam

>Mixed Greens, Romaine, Arugula, Napa, and Spring Mix

>Canadian bacon, Precooked Bacon or Turkey Bacon

>Boboli 100% Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

>Bestlife Garden Spinach Light Flat-out Wraps

13. Freezer Items

>Chicken Tenders (sauté for salads, in olive oil and mustard, dip in butter milk and Panko then fry, sauté in tomato basil sauce then bake with cheese on top)

>Wild caught fish

>Jumbo frozen tiger shrimp peeled and cleaned

>Ice Milk and Sorbet

14. Alcohols

> Vodka

>Makers Mark




>Dry to Semi Dry white and red wine

>Cassis, Green Apple, Blue Curacao, Cocoa D’oro

>Sweet and Dry Vermouth


>Soda, Diet Tonic, Rose’s Sweetened Lime Juice


Source: HARVARD Healthy Food Guide Pyramid


>Ray D. Strand, MD, Healthy for Life.

>Frances Sizer and Eleanor Whitney, Nutrition Concepts and Controversies, Ninth Edition.

>L. Kathleen Mahan and Sylvia Escott-Stump, Krause’s Food, Nutrition & Diet Therapy.

>Ann Kulze, MD, Dr. Ann’s 10-Step Diet.

>T.Colin Campbell, PhD. And Thomas M. Campbel II, The China Study, Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, and Long-Term Health.

>Atkins RC., Atkins for Life, Dr. Aitkin’s New Diet Revolution.

>Kolata G. “Vitamins: more may be too many (Science Section), “The New York Times April 29, 2003: 1, 6.

>U.S. Department of Agriculture. “USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference.”  Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Research Service, 2002. Accessed at http://www.nal.USDA.gov/fnic/foodcomp

>Nicholas Perricone, MD., The Perricone Promise, Look Younger, Liver Longer in Three Easy Steps.

>Barbara Rolls, PhD. The Volumetrics Eating Plan.

>National Research Council, Diet, Nutrition and Cancer, Washington, DC: National Academy Press 1982.

>U.S. Department of Agriculture, “Agriculture Fact Book,” Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1998: cited in: Information Plus Nutrition: a key to good health. Wylie, TX: Information Plus, 1999.

>National Dairy Council. July15, 2003. Accessed at http://www.nationaldairycouncil.org/aboutus.asp

>Food and Nutrition Board, and Institute of Medicine. “Dietary reference intakes for energy, carbohydrates, fiber, fat, fatty acids, cholesterol, protein, and amino acids (macronutrients).”Washington DC: The National Academy Press 2002. Accessed at http://www.nap.edu/catalog/10490.html?onpi_newsdoc090502.

>National Academy of Science. Press Release. “Report offers new eating and physical activity targets to reduce chronic disease risk.” Sept. 5, 2002. Washington, DC: National Research Council, Institute of Medicine. Accessed at http://www4.nationalacademies.org/news.nsf/isbn/0309085373?Open Document

>Wegmans Company. Receipes and Nutritional Facts. Accessed 2003. Available from http://www.wegmans.com

>Wright JD, Kennedy-Stephenson J, Wang CY, et al. “Trends in Intake of Energy and Macronutrients – United States, 1971-2000.” Morbidity and mortality weekly report 53 (February 6, 2004): 80-82.

>Bob Greene, The Best Life Diet.

>Arthur Agatston, MD., The South Beach Diet.

>Dean Ornish, MD., Eat More Weigh Less.

>Judith C. Rodriguez, PhD, RD, F.A.D.A., The Diet Selector.

>National Institutes of Health. February 2004. Accessed at http://www.nih.gov

>American Heart Association, “Dietary Guidelines for Healthy American Adults.”

Circulation 94. (1996): 1795-1800.

>Brand, J.C., et al. “Low-Glycemic Index Foods Improve Long-Term Glycemic Control in NIDDM.” Diabetes Care 14. (1991): 95-101.

>Brand, J.C., et al. “Glycemic Index is Easy and Works in Practice.” Diabetes Care 20. (1997): 1628-1629.

>Chew, I., et al. “Application of Glycemic Index to Mixed Meals.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 47. (1988):53-56.

>Collier, G. R., et al. “Effect of Co-Ingestion of Fat on the Metabolic Response to Slowly and Rapidly Absorbed Carbohydrates”. Diabetologia 26. (1984): 50-54.

>Ferrannini, E., et al. “Effect of Fatty Acids on Glucose Production and Utilization in Man.” Journal of Clinical Investigation 72. (1983): 1737-1747.

>Fontaine, K.R., et al. “Years of Life Lost Due to Obesity.” JAMA 289. (2003): 187-193.

>Foster, G., “Dietary Advice Based on the Glycemic Index Improves Dietary Profile and Metabolic Control in Type 2 Diabetic Subjects.” Metabolism 37. (1988): 1081-1088.

>Gorman, Christine, “How to Eat Smarter” Time Magazine, October 20, (2003):52.

>Heshka, S, et al. “Weight Loss With Self-help Compared With a Structured Commercial Program”. JAMA 289, (2003): 1792-98.

>Mancini, M., et al. “Antioxidants in Mediterranean Diet.” Canadian Journal of Cardiol 11. (1995): 105G-109G.

>Metges, C.C., and C.A. Barth. “Metabolic Consequence of a High Dietary-Protein Intake in Adulthood: Assessment of the Available Evidence.” Journal of Nutrition 130. (2000): 886-889.

>Rauramaa, R. “Relationship of Physical Activity Glucose Tolerance, and Weight Management.” Prevention Medicine 13. (1984):37-46.

>Trichopoulou, A., et al. “Consumption of Olive Oil and Specific Food Groups in Relation to Breast Cancer Risk in Greece.” Journal of the National Cancer Institute 87. (1995): 110-116.

>Wolever, T. and D. Jenkins. “Application of the Glycemic Index to Mixed Meals.” Lancet 2. (1985): 944.

>The USDA Dietary Guidelines (2005).