By Teresa Terry RD,LD and Stacy Shankleton BSN, RN, CCRP
You have heard your family say it, your friends say it, and your doctor say it; eat healthy and get more exercise. Why not combine the two together? Grocery shopping is something that you take part in on a regular basis, make this task work for you!
Often people associate eating healthy with greater cost. However, eating healthy does not have to break your bank. Here are a few tips to stretch your dollar:
- Stop buying conveniently packaged foods as they tend to be more expensive. Clean and prepare vegetables yourself rather than buying already chopped food.
- Stop buying "junk" food and put the cost savings to healthier seasonal produce.
- Control portions to recommended levels and add up the savings by not overeating.
- Plan for one or two "meatless" meals per week. Beans provide fiber, protein, iron, zinc and calcium at a lower cost.
- Buy skim or 1% milk for a budget neutral healthy change.
Now that we've provided a few food selection strategies, what about the second part of our quest? Your weekly grocery shopping is, believe it or not, an opportunity for exercise. As you scan the isles for the best deals on your favorite healthy treats, you are indeed moving. Despite moving at a slower pace, you are still moving your body. Increase your speed, as your body tolerates, for even greater benefits including higher calorie burn.
Keep in mind that grocery shopping, like any physical activity, can put you at risk for physical injury. Back injury prevention is important from the moment you enter the store. Maintaining proper posture and spine alignment are key components.
Here are a few helpful tips:
- When bending- Keep your back and neck inline as you bend at the hips and knees. Remember to tighten your abdominal muscles.
- When lifting more than 5 pounds - Get close to the load and tighten your abdominal muscles. Keep your back and neck inline, bend at the hips, and lift with your legs and buttocks.
- When turning- Do not twist. Pivot your feet towards the desired direction.
- Request lighter loads per bag. Using more bags with less in each bag.1
- Use the cart to transport final purchases to your cart. If you have to carry your bags be sure to evenly distribute the weight to both sides of your body.
- Budget constraints do not necessarily have to compromise your healthy recipes and creative menu planning. Have fun planning your meals with cost savings in mind. But, regardless of what is in your pantry or fridge proper body mechanics should be on your shopping list every time.
Moving Safely. (2011). Retrieved Feb 06, 2012, from National Osteoporosis Foundation: http://www.nof.org/aboutosteoporosis/movingsafely/moving