I often get told by clients they get confused by all the so-called healthy food labels on foods only to find out they are high in salt or sugar or contain some kind of “non-food” ingredient. I understand the frustration as I have been tricked a time or two. So, this month I thought I’d share some tips to help navigate the aisles a bit easier and be wiser then the five stars.
Foods, much like people, feed our inner and outer selves by tickling our emotions, causing our brains to be engulfed in waves of bliss. So, how do we make those choices – budget, favourites? Most of us don’t really know where the foods in the stores are coming from, how fresh they are or what they contain. We have to make hundreds of decisions when we go grocery shopping, and often can feel overwhelmed that we’re making the right choices for ourselves and our family.I’d like to share some quick and easy tips to help you the next time you venture the aisles:
- If a food doesn’t have any packaging, chances are it hasn’t gone through extensive processing, so it’s in it’s natural form which will offer you the most nutrients. If you see a lot of packaging, chances are it’s been man-made and has too many added non-food ingredients. Think: vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.
- If you do find a food that appears to be healthy but is disguised by a can, box, or bag, then learn to read the Nutritional label. Ensure that you can actually read and recognize the ingredients such as “salt, mixed herbs, water, kidney beans”. If you see a word that is hard to pronounce like, “monosodium glutamate”, then chances are it’s a non-food ingredient and is there to enhance flavour and cause extra burden on your body.
- Many ingredients are used to keep food preserved for long shelf life as well as appeal to the eye. These are not real foods, and can be laden with chemicals, colourings, preservatives, flavour enhancers and more. Be aware of their names such as: monosodium glutamate (MSG), partially hydrogenated oils, sodium nitrate and more. These are fake ingredients that are not found in nature, therefore are not going to nourish your cells.
- A variety of bright colors are a good indication that you’ve gotten a food that will nourish the body, (so long as those colors are not artificial such as hot pink candy hearts)! Eating a rainbow a day of natural colors such as: reds in tomatoes, orange in pumpkin, yellow in capsicums, green in broccoli, blue in berries and purple in eggplant. The more colourful you palette, the more healthy and vibrant you will be!
- Think locally! The closer the food from your local farm, the fresher it will be! We don’t want to be eating foods that have travelled from far away lands, that have lost nutrients along the way. Local foods will be fresher and sold with the seasons. Buying frozen is another way to ensure nutrients as once they are harvested, they quickly get freezed and the nutrients are locked in.
So, don’t settle for ‘fake foods’ that end up draining your energy or causing pain. Remember, you body is just a bunch of cells that are waiting to be nourished. They feed off of vitamins and minerals from our food, and where do we get those…from the soil, and that means fruits and vegetables! So, feed your cells what they need to remain well fed and happy, and then they will nourish the body. That way and you’ll look and feel amazing!
Remember this, eating healthy is the true cost of food and it’s what goes into your body. For me, it’s worth spending a bit more on real foods that are going to nourish rather then contribute to disease…food for thought anyway.