Our immune system needs proper nutrition, now more than ever. There are some temptations on store shelves that will wreak havoc on your immunity. Here are the foods you need to stop buying at the grocery store right now to keep your immunity strong and healthy.
Global pandemic definitely changed the way we shop for groceries. Nothing is quite the same as it was before. Shopping is clearly more stressful right now for all of us. We need to plan more, make an extra effort in organizing everything from stocking our pantry to actually going to the grocery store.
And then there are all sorts of other worries and questions: If I'm going to the store, will I find items I need on stock? Do I need to wear a mask and gloves when I go shopping? Or if I'm ordering groceries online, will I find the delivery spot?
Honestly, it's brain exhausting and easy to lose sight of yet another important question. And that is: What are the proper foods I should be buying right now? And what foods definitely shouldn't be in my shopping cart?
In these challenging times, it's easy to lose focus on our health. We tend to look for comfort foods to help us get through. And that is precisely what we shouldn't be doing. In fact, proper nutrition is what our immune system needs right now.
To help you navigate through store aisles and encourage you to make the right food choices, here is the list of foods you need to stop buying at the grocery store during the pandemic.
1. Items you don't need
This may seem like an obvious thing, but honestly, how many times did you find yourself buying foods you don't really need, or you don't know how to prepare. Maybe you felt the need to stock up on some food items just because you were scared. That kind of behavior is completely normal during uncertain times.
When you shop for food, think only about the food you really need. Skip the foods you are unfamiliar with, or you don't have a clear vision of how to prepare it. Keep your shopping list simple, and cook foods you know to avoid unnecessary stress.
Also, keep reminding yourself that everything will be ok and try to calm down. You don't need to worry about the food supply, so don't stock up on things you don't really need right now. If something isn't available in the stores now, it will become available soon. Breath out the negative thoughts and suppress the panic mode.
- Make a meal plan and prepare a shopping list in advance.
- Buy only things on your shopping list and just 1 to 2 weeks worth of groceries at a time. Remember: buying more than you need may lead to food waste. Not to mention you'll waste your money too.
- Foods are best used FRESH.
- If you need to calm your mind, you can stock on some food items. But don't go overboard. Avoid panic buying.
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2. Comfort foods
We don't always eat just to satisfy physical hunger. We sometimes turn to food for comfort and stress relief. And when we do, we usually reach for junk food, sweets, and other comforting but unhealthy foods. This is a normal reaction. It's called emotional eating. It's when we use food to make ourselves feel better - we fill emotional needs, rather than our stomach.
And while comfort foods may sound tempting, these foods are precisely what we DON'T NEED right now. Comfort food is usually high in sodium, packed with refined carbs and added sugars, processed oils, and refined grains. These foods harm our physical health. But it may hurt our mental health too. After overeating, our emotional problems will remain, and in addition, we will feel enormous guilt.
So, the worst thing you can do right now is stock up with frozen pizza, white bread, and pasta, sugary breakfast cereals, processed meats (like sausages, hot dogs, and deli meats), microwave meals or ready meals. Not to mention sweet treats like candies, cakes, biscuits, and cookies.
All these foods shouldn't be a part of your healthy diet anyway. But in a normal situation, I would say: eat everything in moderation. One or two store-bought cookies occasionally won't wreck your health. But with being locked in the house, with gyms closed, and with restrictions on being outdoors, the calories can quickly add up. And our mental health is already at high risk as it is.
- Stick to the FRESH PRODUCE, fresh fruits, and veggies that are now in season.
- Make homemade pizza using whole grain flour.
- Bake wholegrain bread.
- Make cookies at home using healthy ingredients, and enjoy them in moderation.
You may find this interesting:
Healthy comfort foods to try:
- Lemon Oatmeal Muffins
- Matcha Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Lemon Blueberry Pound Cake
- Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies
- Strawberry Oatmeal Cookies
3. Sugary foods
Sugar is the worst enemy of our immunity. And without a healthy immune system, we are more prone to illness and disease. Refined sugars, like table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, are the worst. They cause high blood sugar, which produces molecules that interfere with the body's natural ability to fight infections. (1)
Additionally, viruses and "bad" bacteria love to thrive on sugar. Cutting out sugar helps create an environment in the body in which disease cannot exist. Furthermore, too much sugar can lead to obesity, insulin resistance, and inflammation. Inflammation does havoc to our immunity too.
So, the worst thing you can do right now is to eat foods high in sugar (like store-bought cakes, cookies, biscuits) and drink sugary drinks (soda drinks, and fruit juices made from concentrate). Even those foods labeled as zero sugar and low sugar.
We need our immunity strong and healthy, now more than ever. So if you want to straighten your immunity, limit your daily sugar intake. That doesn't mean you need to avoid all sugars. Natural sugars like those found in fruits are processed in our bodies completely different from added refined sugars found in store-bought foods. Plus, fruits are loaded with antioxidants and vitamins. And that is precisely what you need to consume now to boost immunity.
- Replace sugary drinks with plain water, sparkling water, or herbal teas. Adding a slice of lemon to glass will provide a burst of flavor. Adding a teaspoon of honey to your drinks is perfectly ok.
- Skip store-bought sweets and treats. Make homemade desserts and treats using healthier sugar options like maple syrup, honey, dates, stevia, monk fruit.
- Make your own homemade granola for perfect healthy breakfast.
- Swap your morning cereal for a bowl of porridge or overnight oats.
- Skip store-bough fruit flavored yogurts. Stick to plain probiotic ones.
- Skip ketchup, salad dressings, and pasta sauces. These foods are usually high in sugars.
- Make your own sweet snacks, like energy balls and candied nuts.
- Replace candy with a homemade trail mix of fruit, nuts and a few dark chocolate chips
You may be interested to read this:
- How To Reduce Inflammation In The Body
- How To Stop Sugar Cravings And Lose Weight
- 20 Immune Boosting Smoothies
Try these healthy snacks:
- Lemon Coconut Energy Balls
- No Bake Peanut Butter Balls
- No Bake Brownie Bites
- Spicy Cinnamon Roasted Almonds
- Hazelnut Chocolate Balls
- Peanut Butter Energy Balls
We all should strive for better health, especially now – meaning we should prioritize healthy foods every day. Our immunity is counting on us to make the right food choices. And even if we find grocery shopping a bit stressful right now, we can't let that overwhelm us. Keep your head calm and shop the perimeter of the grocery store, focusing on fresh, whole ingredients.
Do you find grocery shopping challenging these days? How do you cope with emotional eating and cravings for comfort foods? What are your favorite immune-boosting foods? Let me know in the comments below.