In my previous blog, "When you know better," I talk about voting with your groceries. Every time you place an item in your cart, you're casting a vote for the kinds of products you want to see carried in that store.
Well, let's talk about where more votes are cast than probably any grocer in the country--Walmart. And I happen to cast A LOT of votes at my local Walmart Neighborhood Market. Do I enjoy the experience? Not particularly, but because I, like most fitness professionals, don't earn Gillian Michaels' salary, and because food is my largest monthly purchase, I go where I can save. I also shop at other mass grocers, and occasionally at Whole Foods and a natural foods market when I feel like splurging and wasting a lot of time driving. But by and large, Walmart it is, because I'm frugal, because it's on the way home, and because I've learned to find healthy options there.
I realize that each Walmart (superstores and neighborhood markets) offers a slightly different assortment of products, so some of the items I highlight may not yet have reached your store. But use these finds as a guide, and don't be afraid to ask a manager to stock similar items.
As you take a look at these products and read the captions, I'd like to remind everyone that locally-sourced, fresh, unprocessed, homemade food is best. We're all on the same page with that, right? Good. But I'm a realist and don't take an elitist attitude about my food or its source. I'm a busy mom with two kids and a husband with a demanding job, so I do what works best for my life. The point of this blog is simply to show you that healthy options are available, even at Walmart, and if we want to keep seeing more good stuff, we have to buy the good stuff.
Do all of these items cost more than other options in the store? Yes. Are they worth it? To my family, absolutely. If we are what we eat--down to a cellular level--how can I accept less than quality food? And we have made adjustments in our budget to afford these items. As such, we only consume bison or grass fed beef once every 7-10 days, chicken once or twice a week, salmon (I buy the wild caught frozen filets from either Wal-Mart or Target) once a week and tuna once or twice a week. Other days, we have a vegetarian or bean-based meal, and every Sunday, we consume a family ritual of popcorn, cheese and fruit for dinner. And we rarely eat fast food, or eat out for that matter.
If the idea of incorporating more organic, high quality--and thus, more expensive--foods into your diet seems daunting, start small. Little by little, start swapping bad stuff for good, and good stuff for better. And make the healthier stuff go farther. For instance, I buy organic milk, which is stupid expensive, so I only allow my boys to consume it at breakfast and dinner. To bulk up a pound of ground bison, I add cooked quinoa, brown rice or black beans. To turn organic vegetable soups into a heftier, protein enhanced meal, I blend in cottage cheese (or tofu, which I haven't found at Walmart). You get the idea (and if not, leave a comment and I'll help you out!).
I'd like to leave you with a simple challenge: take a look in your refrigerator, freezer and cupboard and determine one item in each that you will replace with something healthier the next time you shop. That's just three small changes...and a great start!
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Molly is a wife, mom,
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I am not a registered dietitian, nor a medical professional. My blog is a representation of my views and experiences, which are not intended as medical advice. While I am a certified personal trainer, descriptions of things I eat and exercises I perform may not be suitable for everyone. Please speak with a medical professional before making any changes to your current routine.