This Is What a Personal Trainer Actually Buys at the Grocery Store
You're going to be happy about this list.
Confession: I love grocery shopping and after years of picking the best peak-of-season produce, mastering the frozen food aisle and scoping out the fastest check-out line, I must #humblebrag that I have it down to a science. (You should see my plethora of preppy, eco-friendly bags, to boot.)
As a plant-based personal trainer, I frequent the supermarket more than I would like to admit in order to keep my fridge stocked with fresh ingredients — and muscles fueled. (Yes, the saying, “Abs are made in the kitchen,” is pretty accurate.)
So what are my must-haves? Allow me to take you for a spin in my shopping cart.
Apples: There is nothing better than a crisp apple when it comes to an easy on-the-go snack. Perfect and portable, apples contain 17 percent of your daily dietary fiber to curb your appetite (and sweet tooth!) while maybe even improving digestive health.
Avocado: Say hello to the healthy fat guacstar everyone loves! This skin-healthy, cancer-fighting fruit is nutrient-dense with vitamins B and C, and folate. Blend with almond milk, melted dark chocolate and a touch of maple syrup for a healthy — yet sinful-tasting — mousse!
Bananas: Flush out excess sodium, restore electrolyte levels and repair muscle fibers by adding a banana into your post-workout shake. (Hint: Remove its peel, place into a zip-lock baggie and pop into the freezer for the best thick and smooth consistency!) The pick-me-up, courtesy of the fruit’s quick-releasing sugars, reverses any exercise or mid-P.M. slump in a snap.
Berries: Don’t underestimate Mother Nature’s nutritious, antioxidant-rich fruit. Jam-packed with vitamin B, C and K, berries may be small but boy are they mighty! A serving or two of berries daily may help boost your brainpower, prevent cell damage and reduce inflammation (wild blueberries are considered an MVP of the bunch). My go to afternoon snack: unweetened vanilla yogurt topped with 1/2 c. mixed berries, 1 tbsp. walnuts (more to come on these babies below!) and 1 tbsp. goji berries.
Broccoli: Even as a young picky eater, broccoli was one of the few green things I would consume. Steamed, sautéed, roasted — you name it, the tree-looking veggie may promote health and longevity by preventing cancer and pumping the breaks on aging. This “flowering crest of a cabbage” (as it is defined by its Italian plural, broccolo…) is an easy, bright addition to salads and omelets or solo, as a side.
Dark, Leafy Greens: I always have arugula, kale or spinach on hand given my salad and stir-fry adoration. These vitamin-rich powerhouses pack an immunity punch, while stabilizing blood sugar. Not sure if you can finish your bag of greens pre-wilt? Freeze for future use! I love blending spinach and kale into my smoothie bowls!
Grains: Brown rice, oatmeal and quinoa are staples in my cart…and belly. Why? These carbs are essential energy sources that boost heart health, decrease cholesterol levels and keep you satiated (quinoa has 8 g. of protein per serving!) without breaking the bank. Double your Sunday batch and tap into it throughout the week as a snack, in a side dish/soup or as-is.
Herbs: Bored with your same-old “clean eating” regimen? I give drab meals a fab, flavorful makeover (sans cals!) with some of my favorite herbs, like cilantro, parsley, basil and oregano. Pro tip: To stop the shrivel, loosely wrap fresh herbs with plastic wrap and store in the warmest part of your fridge, like the door.
Kombucha: Booch, as it is fondly nicknamed, is the buzzy elixir of choice these days with numerous health benefits from disease prevention to gut health support. Made from fermented black tea, this fizztastic bev has been used as a functional probiotic for over 2,000 years. My go-to: GT’s Enlightened Synergy Trilogy.
Nuts/Seeds: Almond butter, walnuts, chia and pumpkin seeds have a revolving door in my household. As tasty, antioxidant-rich and energy-dense plant proteins, these healthy fats keep you satiated to support weight loss and body weight maintenance.
Organic Liquid Egg Whites: Low in cals yet high in protein, egg whites are key to muscle building and supporting electrolyte levels, especially in gym-goers and fitness class-hoppers, alike. I am a huge fan of meal prepping veggie-filled egg white cups to make on-the-go breakfasts a breeze!
Sweet Potato: There are few things I love more than sweet potatoes. Delicious and oh-so nutritious, sweet potatoes are key in my diet when it comes to curbing cravings and regulating blood sugar. To make tasty, baked chips, slice one medium potato into paper thin rounds, toss in olive oil and distribute onto a baking sheet. Top with a sprinkle of Himalayan salt and place into a 375-400 degrees F oven. Cook for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Veggie Burgers: Hitting your protein macros for the day is cake with two of my “meaty” must-haves, Trader Joe’s Hi-Protein Veggie Burgers and Dr. Praeger’s All American Veggie Burgers. Simply heat and brown on a skillet or in the oven for a meal in a cinch. A staple dinner for me: A brown rice/leafy green-based Buddha bowl topped with a burger, chopped veggies and sliced avocado. Voila!
Lauren Seib is a pug mom, personal trainer, online coach and group fitness instructor based in Stamford, Conn. Her credentials include NASM CPT, Spinning®, RYT 200 and Barre by exhale.
*This article was reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.