How to Choose Healthy Foods at the Supermarket?
The supermarket is laden with healthy and unhealthy foods. Due to clever marketing, it can sometimes be hard to identify which foods are healthy from those that are not. This article is a primer to clever grocery shopping!
1) Read food labels & avoid sugar
To know which products to choose, it is generally a good idea to read the food labels attentively. Ingredients contained in the product need to be listed in a specific order, where the ingredient found in the greatest amount is listed first and other ingredients then in descending order. As such, any food with “sugar” in the top 3 ingredients should be avoided. Manufacturers also use other words for “sugar”:
- High-fructose corn syrup
- Mono or diglycerides
Generally speaking, any word ending in “-ose” is a sugar. Most foods that are healthy will not contain sugar or its synonyms in the top 3 ingredients.
2) Read food labels & avoid certain additives
When reading food labels, one quickly sees that many commercial packaged products contain many types of additives meant as flavor enhancers, texturizers or as food colouring. Some of the most important additives to avoid are listed below:
- Partially hydrogenated fats
- Artificial colouring
- Artificial flavouring
- Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
Although these additives are found in minute amounts in a single item, researchers have now highlighted the fact that it is the additive effect of these synthetic chemicals that seems to be problematic. A little food colouring in our breakfast cereal, plus a little artificial flavouring agent in our cookies and some partially hydrogenated fats in our afternoon snack add up to a lot of nasty chemicals that hinder the body’s ability to function adequately. It is best to stick to food products with a short food label list and mostly nutrients that come “from nature” as found in unrefined produce or animal products from animals which were ethically raised.
3) General Guide to Healthy and Unhealthy Foods at the Supermarket
|-Fresh fruits & vegetables
Canned vegetables are fine as long as there is no sugar added and are thoroughly rinsed before their consumption.
Wholegrains are 80% richer in fiber, vitamins and minerals than their refined “white” counterparts.
-Peanut butter Chocolate spread and Breakfast cereals made with stevia.
-honey as a sweetening agent
Total sugar content should be less than 25% per serving.
-Most breakfast cereals
Those items typically contain refined sugar which accounts for more than one third of the nutritional content per serving.
Great to cook or bake with:
These fats have a naturally high smoking point so do not oxidize to unhealthy damaged fats during cooking.
Great to have raw:
These oils are very nutritious and high in beneficial fatty acids.
These oils are highly refined to achieve a high smoking point and are generally harmful for the body.
By choosing healthy foods when grocery shopping, we gradually de-sensitize our taste buds to the excessive amounts of sugar consumed yearly by individuals in developed countries (168 pounds per year per person!) and learn to provide our bodies with the necessary nutrients to stay energized and feel good.
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Mirko is for people who knows him well a true motivator and inspirer. He has been the driving force in projects such as a wellness center in Thailand, a corporate on-line travel agency and membership club with over 120,000 members worldwide. Mirko has created a strong professional reputation as one of the leaders in the hospitality and fitness & recreation industries.