Taking clients to the grocery store was quite the eye opener for me. I had covered a lot of the information during sessions and in consultations, but walking through the aisles and showing clients made the exercise invaluable.
The grocery store is filled with information, but processing and understanding the details can feel overwhelming. Here are a few tips that I put together to help you better understand how the food is that you purchase and bring home.
When looking at foods to purchase, consider:
Quickest path from nature to mouth. The body is equipped to break down foods in their natural state. The more processes the food undergoes before reaching our pantries, the more the body has to figure out how to break it down.
Food combinations (Overall Meal Planning) for maximizing nutritional value. The body uses food as part of major chemical processes in the body. Many of the functions require multiple nutrients to be the most efficient. Our body needs over 50 nutrients a day.
Major Ingredient Concerns:
Salt: Under 120mg per 100 cal serving. Goal-60mg to 100 cals.
Sugar: Daily allowance of 12g-36g a day. 3Tsp-9tsp.
Fats: Avoid trans fats (anything with hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated ingredients).
Goal: 1-2-3 rule—for Every 100 calories, 2 g. fiber, 3 g. fat.
Keep saturated fats under 10% daily total calories. Usually around 8-12g. A day.
Healthy fats are necessary in the diet. Look for unsaturated, poly, and mono fats.
20% daily intake should be in the form of fats.
Deciding Factors in keeping food healthy, nutritious, and tasty:
Cooking Method:In general, the most nutritious state of a food is in it’s raw form followed by steamed, broiled/grilled, sauteed, boiled, and (LEAST) fried.
Environmental Factors/Organic: There is uncertainty in how much damage or influence pesticides have on various foods and on our bodies. Just because something is labeled organic, does not necessarily mean it’s better for you. Be aware of processed foods regardless of the ALL NATURAL or ORGANIC labels.
Price: Still a major factor in determining your ability to purchase a wide variety of foods. Price does not mean that nutritious foods are off limits. Most quality fruits, vegetables and meats can be purchased through sales and smart shopping. Keep an eye out for sales, buy in bulk, freeze, and plan ahead to create frugal, nutritious meals for less than processed, convenience food prices.
Keep ingredient lists short
Avoid difficult words in ingredient lists
List is ordered from most to least
When shopping for processed foods (sparingly), go for foods with sugar or salt not within the first 3 or 4 listed ingredients.
Arming yourself with knowledge is one of the many steps to help you in this journey of healthy living. You’re not alone. Work on one tidbit of information at a time and before you know it, you’ll be an expert in what you’re bringing into the home. Keeping our families healthy and happy is a continuous conquest! Enjoy.