Smart Grocery Shopping
How much time do you spend reading labels when you shop for groceries? Do you look at the ingredients or do you quickly scan the nutrition facts? Or, do you do a little of both?
Knowing what is in your food is important; it gives you energy and provides the nutrients you need to stay healthy. However, it can also include ingredients that weigh down your body’s processes and make you sick. Knowing how to maneuver through the food aisles and all the options can help you in choosing the best foods for your body.
The following are some tips to keep in mind when heading to the grocery store:
- Keep to the outer aisles as much as possible. This is where you will find the majority of non-processed foods such as fresh vegetables, fruits and meat. Single ingredients are your best friend when coming up with a clean meal plan.
- Make sure to ALWAYS read the ingredient list on packaged/processed foods. There is no hiding the facts here.
- Do not rely only on general health claims – this is a marketing ploy. While these claims are required not to be misleading, keep in mind that they are there to entice you. For instance, the word “natural” means next to nothing – the meaning of this word has not been defined by any health agency. It could be used to refer to one ingredient, such as evaporated cane juice, which is basically just another fancy name for refined white sugar.
- For an ingredient to be able to label a product as “containing” something, it only needs to be a very small amount. High sugar products will often claim to include real fruit or fruit juice, when in fact they contain mostly refined sugars with a dash of the real stuff. Also be wary of packaging that claims to include whole grains – this is where the ingredient list comes in handy!
- Know all the names that harmful ingredients, such as sugar or MSG, can be listed as.
- Just because it is labeled “organic” or “gluten-free” does not mean it is healthy. Sugar is still sugar.
- Be smart. Trust your instincts and stick to the basics. Packaged food is often dead food, with all the nutrients and enzymes cooked out of it. If you have to look hard to find the benefits in a product, you are better off leaving it on the shelf.