Yesterday I celebrated my first grocery store tour at Mariano’s! I have been leading tours at Trader Joe’s and County Fair since April 2012. Mariano’s has been popping up all over Chicagoland and it will continue to do so at a rapid pace for the next couple years.
Grocery Store Tours are what I call a “walking nutrition consultation.” The most popular response I get is: “That was an eye-opener.” Everyone is surprised by both the amount of useful information I share and the actual facts I teach them about food product composition.
My tours are always personalized. No tour is the same. Most people that go on tours with me are looking to lose fat. That is my expertise! Others simply want to make better choices for themselves and their families. Some people want to control their health condition, like diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol. I really enjoy teaching people how to shop and eat to control their diabetes.
Regardless of the tour being individualized, I teach some of the same information every single time. After all, it is a 90 minute tour, and I have favorite things I like to share.
Here are 3 tips I always share:
1. Drink 1-2 glasses of water in the morning.
The first tip actually has nothing to do with choosing food. It has a heckuva lot to do with making smart food choices throughout the day, feeling energetic and being focused and attentive. The first thing you should do in the morning is grab a tall glass of room temperature water (encourages a bowel movement) with fresh lemon juice or lemon essential oil. Drink 1-2 glasses of water before you eat or drink anything else.
2. Advice for buying Organic when you are on a budget:
If you want to buy Organic or Grass-Fed, but can only buy some things Organic, go for the fruit, veggies, and animal protein that you consume the most of! If you eat eggs often, buy Organic eggs. They are twice the cost usually, but they are still only 40 cents an egg, even if it’s $5 per dozen. That’s some inexpensive, high-quality, nutrient-packed protein! If you eat a lot of bell peppers, choose Organic. If you go through apples like crazy, buy Organic apples. Any fruit or vegetable without a protective peel or rind is especially important, because the conventional types have likely been sprayed with many chemicals. If you buy ground beef often, choose Organic and/or Grass-Fed beef. You get the gist.
3. The best carbohydrate-rich foods have a high proportion of fiber to carb.
Prioritize the carbohydrates that have the most fiber per carb. For example, a 1/2 cup of beans has about 27 grams of carbs and 7 grams of fiber. That’s excellent! It’s a ratio of about 4:1. A cup of regular pasta has 40 grams of carbs and 1 gram of fiber. That’s a terrible ratio. A cup of cooked spaghetti squash has 10 grams of carbs and 2.5 grams of fiber. Buy them and use it just like spaghetti. Again, it’s an awesome ratio of 4:1. A slice of Trader Joe’s sprouted 7-grain bread has 7 grams of carbohydrates and 3 grams of fiber. That is nearly 2:1. Do the ratio check with carbohydrate foods.
The Exception to the Rule: This rule only applies to foods with fiber that occurs naturally. If you take a Fiber One bar, where fiber is added to the product, you still get a good ratio of 3:1 (29 grams of carbs and 9 grams of fiber), but the food is a crappy choice. They add 10 grams of sugar to the product. Apply the ratio rule to fruit, vegetables, beans, lentils, natural beverages like 100% juice, and starches like bread, pasta and rice.
Learn more about pinpointing sugar on the label here!