How many times have we all visited the store and bought a celebrity endorsed product without checking the ingredients label?
Surely good ol’ Jamie Oliver would not whack his honesty smile and endorsement signature on a dodgy product, right?
We’re constantly bombarded with brightly-colored packages promising “healthy” or “99% fat free” that it’s easy to get sucked into the hype.
The unfortunate truth is most companies out don’t really care about what artificial nonsense they are injecting into your food, just as long as their product has an abnormally long shelf life to bump up their profit margins.
I can’t stress enough how crucial it is to look past the pretentious promises and thoroughly check out the nutrition and ingredient pane on the back. It takes five seconds but might just save you from ingesting a hearty dose of preservatives, all the colors of the rainbow and a truckload of sugar in one “high in fibre” bowl of cereal.
So how do we stay on the right side of the fence and avoid buying trashy food?
I’ve put together a quick cheat list on how to make healthier choices for your next trip to the groceries store. Most of it is logic, but probably not what you want to hear!
Buy most (if not all) your items from the fresh food section
I’m not talking about the deli, I’m talking about the area with all the green perishable stuff!
All items found in this section of the store are exactly what nature intended for us to consume: leafy greens, vegetables rich in anti-oxidants and vitamins and good heart-healthy oils (think yummy avocados).
Go nuts in this section and load your basket or trolley up with the freshest produce. Organic or not, it’ll do your body more good than that oily pack of Doritos’s on aisle 3.
Watch out for anything pre-packaged though- those easy squeeze tubes of “fresh” herbs are often loaded with additional sugars and acid regulators and are best avoided.
Avoid cured or preserved meats
Again, fresh is best. Most packaged meats are excessively loaded with salts, sugars, thickeners (“fillers” such as corn starch) and stabilizers.
I have to admit that bacon is one of the hardest things I’ve had to minimize my intake on, but that’s because it doesn’t really work into my meal plan macro’s. ie. After a serving of bacon, most of my sodium and fat rations for the day have been used.
There are far better sources of oil than lard and consuming something like coconut or fish oil will be far superior in terms of overall benefits.
Cook as much meat as you can yourself and you can at least be sure that it won’t be spiked with hidden nasty ingredients. And by “cook” I don’t mean whacking it in the microwave either- that’s the worst thing you can do with protein!
Leave the can food for the pets
You aren’t a cat and fish in a can is alright as a quick source of protein, but it’s not the best.
I’m sure you’ve heard about the use of BPA to line cans and unfortunately this is not a good thing for the consumer. Linked to cancer and other nasty side effects, another alarming fact is that BPA acts as an artificial estrogen which prompts the body to store and retain fat. If you aren’t convinced still, at least check out the ingredients panel to see if the product is full of acid regulators and added salts.
If it promises “convenience”, it’s full of it
Matt Preston may be a Masterchef, but that doesn’t mean the product he’s spruiking is anything but pure.
Anything that promises to be quick, convenient or pre-made often means that they’ll carry extra ingredients you didn’t bargain for.
For example, a packet of Masterfood’s Perfect for Beef spice mix contains the usual spices, however read past the first 3 ingredients and you’ll find they’ve chucked in sugar as well as rice flour. Just be aware of the extra things that they’re slipping into your food- all the little things do add up!
Clean eating starts at the check-out counter
If you don’t buy it and take it home in the first place, then you remove any future temptation. Not exactly revolutionary, but it works.
Avoid walking down the empty calorie aisles if you don’t need to- I’m pretty sure you don’t need to go for a browse down the Confectionery section (the tea section is THAT way sister!). If you know you can’t stop at one Tim Tam then don’t buy the packet at all, even the mini bite size versions.
NEVER under any circumstance do your grocery shopping when you are hungry. It’s a recipe for disaster because I guarantee that you’ll be reaching for all the high fat, high sugar products to satisfy the intense cravings.
These are some of the things I personally exercise when I step into any supermarket and I know I’ve skimmed on explaining some of my reasons in depth, however hopefully this is the quick list of core principles to apply if you want to walk out of your next grocery session with bags of goodness and not toxic mutant food!
Happy shopping and what do you do to avoid buying junk at the market?
- Thriving Thursday: Grocery Shopping Guide (ahappylass.com)
- Environmental toxins causes man-boobs & cellulite (michaeljframpton.com)
- Dietitians of Canada dishes up shopping tips to save money on healthy foods (canada.com)