Supermarket Staple #1: Tree Fruits (Apples, Pears)
Why It's a Must Have: White fleshed fruits and veggies (such as apples and pears) have been shown to help reduce heart disease even more than their colored counterparts. “Apples are also rich in quercetin, a flavonoid with strong anti-inflammatory properties,” says Erin Palinski, a registered dietitian and author of the Belly Fat Diet for Dummies. “The pectin found in the skin and the anti-aging polyphenols in apples help reduce artery and cell damage, and their fiber has also been linked with reduction of LDL-cholesterol and body weight.” In fact, one Brazilian study published in the journal Nutrition found that women who ate three apples or three pears a day lost significantly more weight than those that ate the same amount of calories, but didn’t consume the fruits.
Budget Bonus: Shop for produce on a Tuesday or Wednesday, when it is more likely to have just arrived, instead of waiting until the weekend. Most markets receive deliveries during the week, and fruits and veggies that have just made it to the store means they be more likely to stay fresher longer (and get eaten, not wasted) at home. And if you can, buy local apples at your farmer’s market in the spring, summer, and fall to cut costs and improve their nutritional value, recommends Palinski. “Local fruits and vegetables are picked and sold immediately, helping them retain their nutrient level.”
Recipes to Try:
Jamie Oliver's Southern Pecan & Apple Salad
Roasted Chicken and Pears.
Also see: 9 Super Easy (and Delicious) Food Swaps to Help You Cut Calories and Lose Weight
Supermarket Staple #2: Citrus Fruits (Oranges, Lemons, Limes)
Why It's a Must Have: Citrus fruits are a great source of vitamin C, says Palinski. “One German study found that vitamin C helps reduce stress levels and return blood pressure and the stress hormone cortisol to normal levels after a stressful situation – which may help prevent chronic stress and decrease body fat storage in the abdomen.” Palinski recommends eating 2-4 servings of fruit (including at least one serving of a citrus fruit) per day to reap their nutritional benefits. And, if weight loss is your goal, you may want to focus on grapefruit -- one 2004 study conducted by the Nutrition and Metabolic Research Center at Scripps Clinic, found that subjects who ate half a grapefruit before each meal lost an average of 3.6 pounds over 12 weeks (some even lost more than 10 pounds), without making any other dietary changes.
Budget Bonus: Skip fresh fruit when it’s out of season (in the US, citrus is typically in season from late fall and through winter) since fruits have to travel further during off-season, recommends Palinski. “In off-season, reach for canned citrus fruit in its own juice or flash frozen citrus."
Recipe to Try:
Grilled Lemon-Dijon Chicken with Basil and Mint
Also see: 10 Diet Foods That Can Make You Fat
Supermarket Staple #3: Stone Fruits (Peaches, Plums, Apricots, Cherries, Tangerines)
Why It's a Must Have: This (mostly) sweet group of fruits is a delicious way to eat your vitamins and fiber. “Tart cherries in particular, are an anti-inflammatory powerhouse that recent studies have shown offers greater results for gout-related pain reduction than for prescription drugs,” says Dr. Rovenia Brock, a nutrition coach on the Dr. Oz Show and author of Dr. Ro’s Ten Secrets to Livin’ Healthy. “They contain an intense amount of the antioxidants; the anthocyanins responsible for their bright red pigment are also good sources of Vitamin A, making them helpers for eye health as well. They also help reduce heart disease risk, lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, blood lipids, and may reduce risk for type 2 diabetes.”
Budget Bonus: Stone fruits are summer season fruits, so it’s best to buy them fresh when they are least expensive, and most plentiful locally, during the warmer months (check out the free app Locavore for help finding local, in-season produce). Skip the pricier imports and buy frozen varieties (sans added sugars and syrups) instead when they aren’t in season.
Recipes to Try:
Ready to Eat! 7 Sweet & Juicy Peach Recipes
Also see: Is Sugar as Addictive as Cocaine? Here’s How to Cut Back
Supermarket Staple #4: Bananas
Why It's a Must Have: Bananas are often mislabeled as a ‘fattening fruit’ but don’t believe that erroneous myth. Not only are these fat-free, 100-calorie fruits easy to eat on the go, but they are a good source of vitamins A and C, fiber and potassium – which could help slim you down. “Bananas are a fantastic source of potassium, which can help reduce blood pressure and prevent water retention,” says Palinski.
Budget Bonus: Good news – you can skip the organic versions of this fruit without worry. “Bananas are one of the least ‘dirty’ fruits,” says Palinski. “Save even more money by purchasing bananas that are still slightly green, since they will last longer.”
Recipe to Try:
Protein Fruit Smoothie
Also see: Study Confirms: There Is Always Room for Dessert
Supermarket Staple #5: Grapes
Why It's a Must Have: Swap out your candy bowl for a bunch of healthy, naturally sweet grapes. This water rich fruit makes a great energy-boosting snack that can also help to reduce inflammation, which may lower your heart disease risk and even reduce arthritis pain, says Palinski. “Grapes contain high levels of anthocyanins, flavonoids and resveratrol, all of which aid the heart in the task of pumping blood to the brain and other organs resulting in an energy boost.”
Budget Bonus: Save by buying grapes in season (while it depends on the variety, most grapes grown in the US arrive from California, where they are in season from late June to December), and reaching for raisins during off-season, Palinski suggests. “Raisins have all the same great benefits [of grapes] and contain no added sugars.”
Recipe to Try:
Grape Salsa (scroll down page for recipe)
Check out the rest of Dr. Oz's supermarket staples, including melons, celery and avocado here!
Connect with iVillage.ca: