With so many choices in the market these days, it may be confusing when trying to eat healthily. Use these guidelines to help navigate the aisles with confidence.
1.Choose food items that are as close to their natural state as possible.
2. Think quality, not quantity. Mega farm raised food that is shipped long distances may not be the healthiest.
3. Don’t buy items that list sugar as its first three ingredients. No High Fructose Corn Syrup. Ever.
4. Shop the perimeter of the market where most of the whole foods are located: but beware, grocers are catching onto this and shelving processed foods in unlikely places.
5. Given a choice of a whole fruit or vegetable or a prepared one, choose the former. This goes for things such as fruit cups.
6. Avoid lettuce sold in plastic shells or plastic bags. The containers are perfect breeding grounds for bacteria, and the containers are unnecessary waste.
7. If you can’t pronounce an ingredient, avoid eating it.
8. Avoid preservatives and additives as much as possible.
9. Choose items that have the fewest ingredients as possible.
10. Avoid “lite”, “fat free”, “low fat” etc., better to each a lesser amounts of whole foods.
11. Do not eat mock foods including processed soy products (bacon, cheese, etc)
12. The only thing orange you should eat is fruit and orange vegetables, and the only thing orange to drink is 100% fruit juice.
13. Don’t believe health claims on labels. Do your homework.
14. Be wary of the latest “super food” or the latest food craze. Visit A Healthy Hunger often to keep updated on these trends.
15. Purchase raw nuts and store them in the fridge or freezer.
16. Purchase in bulk when you can to save on money.
17. Avoid trans fats like the plague.
18. Be mindful of sodium content. Choose lower salt options whenever possible.
19. Fresh is best, frozen is next best, especially off-season. Choose frozen vegetables without any additives or sauces.
20. Avoid canned vegetables with the exception of organic beans, tomatoes and pumpkin puree. Be wary of any added salt.
21. Become an expert at reading nutrition labels. Just because it says “healthy”, “whole grain” or “natural” don’t believe it until you read it.
22. Do not eat GMO foods. Ever.
23. When given a choice choose the higher fiber option.
24. Whole grain means, the whole kernel. Whole wheat flour is not a whole grain, and “made from whole grain” means that it’s been processed.
25. Learn how to pick the best and freshest fruits. If you are unfamiliar, make friends with your produce person and ask. My man, Brad, always loves to chat with me.
26. Choose whole grain over white flour products, ie: tortillas, bread, pasta, etc.
27. Buy organic whenever possible. Learn the Dirty Dozen and The Clean 15.
28. Keep a fruit smoothie container in your freezer. When you can’t get to fresh fruit soon enough simply cut it up and store in the freezer for your smoothies.
29. Try to eat fruits and vegetables in season whenever possible.
30. Purchase only natural maple syrup. Avoid syrups that are corn syrup based with flavor.
31. Eat chocolate every day. (OK, this really isn’t a thing, but enjoying an excellent treat from time to time is good for the soul. Choose high quality organic chocolate.)
32. Make your own salad dressings and avoid “low fat” versions that are often laced with corn syrup and fillers. Store in glass jars and use masking tape to label and date your dressings.
33. Use reusable shopping bags, and launder them regularly.
34. Support your local growers and shop the farmers market, or invest in a CSA.
Lastly: When in doubt, shop like your Great-Grandmother. Keep it as simple and as wholesome as you can. The more you shop and prepare your own fresh food, the easier it gets and the better you’ll feel.
Click on this link for a printable pdf version: Best Practices For Market Shopping
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