Staying consistent with healthy eating habits throughout the week comes down to creating an environment that is supportive of your goals.
Let's put it this way, if your fridge is filled with highly processed food, it's very difficult to make healthy meals at home, right?
So if you want to set up your environment in line with your goal of eating healthy, you want to stock your fridge with whole foods and minimally processed ingredients in order to create balanced meals throughout the week. I know grocery shopping can be an overwhelming task for many of us - whether it's finding the time, buying the 'right' ingredients, or the expenses that come with shopping for 'healthy' food nowadays. So before we dive, I want to share some strategies to help ensure you have a successful grocery shop:
Be Well Grocery Tips
- Center your shopping trip along the perimeter of the store so you can stay focused on buying whole, unprocessed foods as the primary focus of your diet. Inner isles are often where we find more tempting treats and can be influenced by product placement and marketing.
- If you're not a fan of meal prepping, another strategy you can use when creating a grocery list is 'meal planning'. As you create meals for the week, think about how certain ingredients overlap so you can get the most out of your ingredients and limit food waste. This method still allows you to honor your cravings by giving you versatility and options throughout the week, but gives you a plan of action to keep you on track with your wellness goals.
- Don't shop hungry. You've probably heard this tip before, but it's worth the reminder. Going to a grocery store hungry often leads to impulsive buys of sweets, treats, and starches. When we are in a state of low blood sugar, we're hormonally driven toward those impulsive buys. I'd recommend timing your grocery store visit after a high-protein meal or Fab 4 smoothie.
- Get to know your local grocery store and farmer's markets. Ideally, you want a grocery store with health-forward options and a wide range of organic and unprocessed foods. If you can't make it to the local farmer's market, shop on the outskirts of your grocery store first, where you'll find fresh produce and protein sources.
- If you're doing your grocery shopping online, I'd recommend Thrive Market to help you save on my favorite pantry staples, like Wild Friends Nut butters, Primal Kitchen condiments, and other non-perishable items that add spice and flavor to my meals, while keeping the harmful ingredients out. Receive 30% off your first order and a FREE $60 dollar gift when you shop the link Thrivemarket/KellyFS.
The most important thing to a successful grocery trip is to take some time to plan, and it's as simple as making a list before you go shopping. We can all get stuck in a routine or long days with too little time or energy to plan a thoughtfully constructed weekly grocery shop. But the truth is, taking 5-10 minutes (really, that's all it takes!) will save you so much time when you're running around the grocery store looking for the right ingredients to buy.
When it comes to buying the 'right' ingredients, I like to focus on shopping from these four categories: protein, fat, fiber, and greens, and write out 2-3 options from each category. Then, once your home is stocked with Fab 4 ingredients, you can pull from each category to create balanced meals that keep you satiated, balanced, and fueled all week long.
Here's what a Fab 4 meal consists of:
- Protein: 4-6 oz for women, 6-8oz for men
- Fat: 2 tablespoons
- Fiber: 1-2 tablespoons or 1/4 cup for fruit
- Greens: 2-4 cups of fibrous greens
Now, let's get into my grocery list staples from each category that can be used in a variety of ways to create Fab 4 meals...
How to Grocery Shop the Fab 4 Way
1. Protein is an essential macro-nutrient required by every cell in the body in order to repair and build new cells. Although protein intake needs vary based on gender, body mass, and activity level, I recommend consuming 0.8-1g of protein per pound of body weight daily to optimize protein synthesis and maintain muscle mass. To reach your daily protein intake needs, include at least 4oz of protein at each meal, or aim for a minimum of 25-30 grams of protein. Including 'enough' protein at each meal has shown to elongate blood sugar spikes, level out hunger hormones, and increase satiety.
What I Buy: I personally opt for animal protein sources, as they are a complete protein source, easily digested and utilized by the body, and rich in B vitamins, Omega-3, and vitamin D. I buy 2-3 different protein options and ensure I have 1-2 servings for each day of the week. If you have a household to feed, you can also buy in bulk and store protein in the freezer for 3 to 4 months.
What to Look For: All natural, antibiotic free, grass-fed, or wild caught options.
Some of my favorite protein sources include:
- Red Meat: Grass-finished bison, beef, or lamb (I like to get a majority of my red meat from Butcher Box)
- Organ Meats: Force of Nature ancestral blends (code Kelly10 saves you 10% on your first order)
- Seafood: Wild-caught fish, shrimp, or salmon
- Poultry: Cage-free chicken, organic turkey breasts, cage-free eggs (I recommend Pasture Bird for pasture-raised chicken and eggs)
- Canned: Sockeye Salmon or Tuna
- Soup: Bone Broth - my favorites of FOND and Fire & Kettle
- Supplements: Be Well by Kelly Protein Powder
Be Well Tip: Struggling to hit your protein goals or making meals at home? Head over to Instagram to see how I meal prep protein at the start of a busy week so I can still reach my protein intake needs daily.
2: Fat provides essential fatty acids to further regulate hunger hormones. It helps you kick cravings by triggering the release of satiety hormones and slowing digestion, which naturally elongates your blood sugar curve and keeps you fuller for longer. If you’re consuming animal protein, you're already getting in phenomenal animal derived fats that provide fat soluble vitamins like vitamin A, D, E, and K, but I also I stock up on plant-derived oils and nut hutters to incorporate into smoothies, meals, snacks, and more.
What I Buy: I typically have two different nut butters and a variety of cooking oils on hand at all times. These items are pantry staples so I like to stock up on them on a need-to-buy basis. You can find a majority of these items online at Thrive Market for a discounted price, and save 30% on your first order when you shop through my link.
What to Look For: Avoid fat sources with an uneven ratio of omega-3s to omega-6s, such as palm, canola, safflower, sunflower oil. Learn why here.
Some of my favorite fat sources include:
- Organic Nuts or nut butters such as slmond, walnut, macadamia, cashew and peanut butter
- Organic Tahini
- Olives and Olive Oil
- Zero Acre Cultured Oil
- MCT or Coconut oil
- Fresh Avocados and Avocado Oil
3. Fiber balances blood sugar and helps keep you full while feeding healthy gut bacteria and promoting daily detoxification. Fiber has the mass to physically stretch the stomach lining, promoting a sense of fullness by regulating ghrelin levels. Fiber is also an important component for regularity, improving digestion, and supplying your gut with 'good bug' bacteria.
What I Buy: My favorite fiber sources come from plant foods found in greens, but I also include fiber supplements into Fab 4 smoothies or morning coffee for more targeted gut health support.
What to Look for: Opt for organic seeds and in-season fruit for more nutritional quality and flavor.
My favorite fiber sources are:
- Seeds such as chia seeds, hemp seeds, and ground flax seeds
- Black beans, lentils, green peas (can be canned but check for no salt added and BPA-free)
- Organic raspberries, blackberries, or blueberries (fresh or frozen)
- Yellow bananas, apples
- Fiber Supplements: Psyllium Husk, Inulin Powder, Fiber-3 Powder
4. Greens, specifically dark leafy greens, contain powerful phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals needed to help your body fight inflammation and support the body’s natural anti-aging process. These low starchy veggies are a great way to increase the volume of a meal without an intense impact on blood glucose and help to keep you fuller for longer. I recommend shopping for organic, in-season produce for more nutrient-density and flavor. Don't forget those herbs & spices, too!
What I Buy: Now that I am growing a lot more greens in my backyard garden, I've been able to save on trips to the grocery store for fresh produce. But depending on the meals I'm making that week, I'll pick up 3-4 different vegetables that I can use in my meals or for snacking.
What to Look for: Opt for organic, in-season produce as non-organic items are often grown using the most pesticides, which can easily be absorbed through the thin skins of these products.
My favorite 'greens' sources are:
- Kale, spinach, arugula, romaine lettuce, butter leaf lettuce
- Zucchini, spaghetti squash (great alternative to traditional pasta)
- Green beans, broccoli, parsnips, brussel sprouts or cauliflower/ cauliflower rice
- Celery, cucumber, carrots (great for snacking)
- Microgreens or broccoli sprouts (can have up to 20x the amount of nutrients than regular vegetables)
- Herbs - Dill, Cilantro, Basil, Rosemary
Be Well Tip: If your family struggles to get in greens throughout the week, try this tip to increase the nutrient density of your meals and your veggie intake.
Once your home is stocked with Fab 4 ingredients, you can pull from each category to create balanced meals that keep you satiated, balanced, and fueled all week long. Now, it's time to add some flavor!
Making Body-Loving Choices Taste Good
I know most people assume all the flavor and fun goes out the window when you're trying to eat healthy. But it might just mean investing in brands with clean, organic ingredients that value the well-being of its customers and the planet. It can be hard to find products made with simple ingredients that help make eating healthy just a little bit easier, but that's exactly what these brands have done. I understand that choosing high-quality products can come at a higher cost, so I've included some codes and links below to help you save $$ on your orders from my favorite brands.
- Primal Kitchen Foods No-Dairy Sauces (Use code KELLYFAVORITES for 15% off your order of $40)
- Coconut Aminos (Gluten and soy-free soy sauce alternative!)
- Primal Kitchen Foods Dijon or Yellow Mustard (Use code KELLYSFAVORITES for 15% off your order of $40)
- Primal Kitchen Foods Sugar-Free Ketchup (Use code KELLYSFAVORITES for 15% off your order of $40)
- Primal Kitchen Foods Avocado Oil Mayo or Whip (Use code KELLYSFAVORITES for 15% off your order of $40)
- Organic Tahini (Get 30% off your first order and a FREE $60 dollar gift when you shop the link Thrivemarket/KellyFS)
- Siete Seasonings, Non-Dairy Dips, and Sauces
- Wild Friends Nut butters (Use code kelly15 for 15% off your order)
- Organic Spices - Turmeric, Sage, Cinnamon, Cayenne, Oregano, Paprika, Cumin, Chili Powder (Get 30% off your first order and a FREE $60 dollar gift when you shop the link Thrivemarket/KellyFS)
- Hu Kitchen Dark Chocolate and Grain-Free Crackers (Use code BEWELL for 15% off your order)
- Balanced Bites seasoning blends (Use code BEWELLBYKELLY for 10% off your order)
- Siete Grain-Free Tortillas
- Organic Paleo Coconut Wraps
- Capello's Grain-Free Pizza Crust (Get 30% off your first order and a FREE $60 dollar gift when you shop the link Thrivemarket/KellyFS)
- Gluten-Free Baking Flour, Cassava, Coconut, or Almond Flour
- Tolerant Foods Lentil or Chickpea Pasta (Get 30% off your first order and a FREE $60 dollar gift when you shop the link Thrivemarket/KellyFS)
- FOND Bone Broth (Use code BEWELLBYKELLY for 20% off your order)
- Be Well by Kelly Protein Powders
Even with the best intentions, 'healthier' alternatives can contain ingredients that are disrupting our gut microbiome, blood sugar levels, and overall health. I want you to be aware of these ingredients so you can make informed decisions during your next grocery shop. And this is to serve as a little reminder to double check the ingredient list before buying!
Be Aware of These Items:
- Seed Oils: Safflower, sunflower, corn, soybean, cottonseed, grape seed, and canola oils. These oils have replaced a number of trans-fats over the last decade, leading to an increase in our omega-6 levels. Omega-6s can disrupt the balance of omegas in your body and can lead to increased inflammation.
- Parabens: These chemical preservatives are found in most processed foods so it's difficult to avoid entirely. Try your best to avoid or limit any items with ingredients such as methylparaben (E218), ethylparaben (E214), propylparaben (E216), heptylparaben (E209), and butylparaben.
- Isoflavones: Isoflavones are estrogen-like compounds found in such foods such as peanuts, chickpeas, alfalfa sprouts, fava beans, and soy products that can cause reproductive problems, weight gain, and fatigue. In small quantities, these plant foods should not be too much to worry about. However, soy products can contain 10-60 times the isoflavone quantity that the other foods mentioned. Limit soy products as best as possible.
- BPA and BPO: These chemicals bind to the estrogen that is naturally occurring in the body, resulting in an increase of estrogen in the bloodstream. This can result in an interference in libido,
- Monosodium glutamate (MSG): This additive in processed and fast foods acts as a contaminant on the body when overconsumed.
- Carrageenan: Used a food thickener or stabilizer known to cause intestinal inflammation and lead to digestive issues.
- Guar Gum: A by-product of the guar bean, guar gum may result in gastrointestinal digestive issues such as gas and abdominal discomfort.
- Added Sugar: The effects of added sugar intake include higher blood pressure, inflammation, weight gain, diabetes, and fatty liver disease. Sugar is added to just about anything as it's highly palatable, addicting, and easily over-consumed.
We can't always be perfect, but we can do our best at limiting these harmful ingredients and keeping them out of our home as much as possible. When we fill our home with wholesome ingredients, you'll find it much easier to stay consistent and lead a healthier lifestyle in the process.
I hope these tips are useful during your next grocery shop and you can use it as an opportunity to fuel your body with body-loving ingredients! If you need meal inspo for how to throw it all together, find my Fab 4 recipes here! And for more tips and tricks to start your Fab 4 lifestyle, check out my books Body Love and Body Love Every Day.