Today’s guest post is by Cassie…you can find her on Twitter @ehealth_inform.
The pursuit of a strong, healthy body is a noble goal we all desire. However, those of us willing to chase the dream have many hurdles to overcome along the way. And while physical fitness is its own challenge, getting hold of the right foods for your diet can sometimes feel daunting.
Arguments in the scientific community don’t make things any easier on us either. While researchers debate about heart attacks and prevention both in terms of lifestyle and diet, we’re faced with having to find and choose foods that are the best for our health today.
Thankfully, though, technology is making the struggle much simpler. With the help of the internet, some well-designed apps and several health-oriented communities (each with their own inspiring stories, we can turn the disorganized and sometimes haphazard practice of grocery shopping into a pleasure far removed from uncertainty and aggravation.
You Can Become an Amateur Researcher
One of the greatest tools at your disposal is the internet. Thanks to the hard work of nutritionists, clinicians and food enthusiasts, you can find out what foods best suit your personal needs. For example, take the diet of someone that does a lot of aerobic work.
Aerobic workouts chew through both your short-term and long-term energy storage relatively quickly. They use up your glycogen first and then tap into fat. Because of this hierarchy, runners and similar athletes need a diet higher in carbohydrates than might be required by power lifters.
Their protein requirements are also slightly lower because there is less tissue damage to repair from a workout. Armed with this knowledge, you can look up different foods you enjoy to start planning out your meals before you even head to the store.
One of my favorite resources for healthy foods is whfoods.com. This site goes into all the details regarding vitamins and minerals and how to get them. It also makes a good companion to sites such as nutritiondata.self.com, which focuses more on facts and figures relating to ingredients and nutritional facts.
There are So Many Apps to Help You
With so many mobile apps tailored towards making your trips to the supermarket more efficient and less stressful, one of the most powerful tools for making grocery shopping easier, your smartphone, is never far from your fingertips.
To begin with, you will want to make use of one of the many “list” making apps to keep track of what you need to buy and where you can buy it. One well-known app (and not without good reason) is Out of Milk. It allows you to create lists, scan items at the store and keep track of what’s running out at home (US users are also notified of deals while at the store).
Once you’re in the store, there are a variety of apps you can use to check up on foods and research ingredients. For example, Fooducate is an app where you can scan barcodes to get detailed information about ingredients and nutritional facts. However, when you’re in the store, mobile reception can be poor. Many places offer free WiFi, which can be a life saver at times, but also a tad risky if you aren’t using security software. It’s a good idea to utilize a Virtual Private Network with mobile devices if you plan to use the WiFi (a VPN is a type of internet security app). You’d be surprised how many problems can originate from unprotected connections.
On the other hand, if you aren’t a big fan of stores and prefer to shop at local farmer’s markets or at actual farms, you may want to consider apps such as Farmstand. Designed to help you find local produce, Farmstand integrates the locations of small time sellers and helps you figure out where to buy the freshest produce.
Of course, none of this would be possible without a strong community.
You Are Not Alone—Join the Community
Besides doing searches online, preparing your shopping list and locating local sellers, you may also want to consider joining social media groups focused on nutrition and on the kind of exercises you enjoy the most.
Numerous Facebook groups exist to share meal ideas and advocate for different diets to help reach specific goals. In the same way you might find yourself exercising with community members at the gym or in the park, you can also get assistance coordinating your meals with real people online, especially when it comes to diets with special needs.
Pinterest can be great for this. Users will post photos of foods they’ve cooked complete with recipes, how-to instructions and commentary. You can use these pages to generate meal ideas and then coordinate with your list apps to make the trip much easier.
Due to the ease of running a social media page, you’ll also find healthy communities based around vendors that participate in your local farmer’s market. Here you can post your feedback and talk to other shoppers or sellers to further refine your shopping habits and meal plans.
Enjoy the Ride
When it comes down to it, if you utilize the numerous tools available to you, shopping is quite a pleasure. There’s no shortage of good food in the markets and eating right is sure to compliment a healthy lifestyle.
With the help of apps, various internet resources and thriving online communities, you can decide more easily what’s worth buying and what should be passed over. Combine all of this with cooking, and you’re well on your way to a positive relationship with grocery shopping.
Will you make your next trip to the store a treat? Tell us how you shop or plan your meals in the comments.
About the Author: Cassie enjoys blogging about food and nutrition, but she also writes regularly about internet technology and security. When she’s not discussing health or technology online, she enjoys casual bike rides around town.