Eating Healthy: Beyond Fresh Foods, Let’s Get Creative with Our Plates!
We all know that fresh whole foods are the best and that it’s always best to hit up the perimeter of the grocery store for those. But let’s be honest, it’s not always practical or sustainable for a lot of Americans.
But guess what? Packaged foods can still be nutritious if we know how to choose wisely. The trick is to go for options that are as close to natural as possible. Look out for low added sugars, lots of healthy nutrients, and avoid sneaky ingredients like flour and unhealthy oils lurking in those veggie chips.
So, how do we make the right choices? Well, start by reading the labels. The front of the package might make big promises, but the real scoop is in the nitty-gritty details. Pay attention to serving sizes, sugars, fats, and those strange ingredients you’ve never heard of before.
Oh, and the ingredient list! It’s like a secret code. The order matters—the first few ingredients should be wholesome foods that your grandma would recognize. If sugar is leading the pack, steer clear!
And watch out for long ingredient lists. It’s all good if it’s filled with herbs, spices, and seeds, but make sure it’s mostly stuff you can actually identify as food.
Let’s talk about the bad stuff: avoid added and artificial sugars like cane juice, dextrose, fructose, fruit nectars, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, aspartame, lactose, malt syrup, maltose, molasses, raw sugar, and sucrose. Also watch out for different flours, trans fats, highly processed vegetable and seed oils, artificial colors, dyes and flavors. Those are definite red flags!
Calories matter, but don’t let them fool you. Some food labels play tricks by giving you a low-calorie amount per serving, but the serving size is tinier than a gnat’s appetite. Who’s actually going to eat one-third of a chip bag?
Fat matters too. Saturated fats from meat and dairy are okay in moderation, but watch out for trans fats—they’re the villains we don’t need. Unsaturated fats from almonds, chia seeds, and olive oil are the heroes here.
Carbs? Yeah, we need to be careful. Most processed carbs in packaged foods turn into glucose faster than you can say “sugar rush.” Let’s avoid those blood sugar spikes, shall we?
Lastly, protein is your buddy. It keeps you full, kicks cravings to the curb, and slows down digestion. Plus, it’s great for building lean muscle, especially when you hit those weights!
Bottom line: choosing the right foods at the grocery store isn’t rocket science. It might seem overwhelming at first, but you’ll get the hang of it. Print out this if you need to, bring it with you on your next shopping trip, and share it with your friends and fam. Let’s all support each other in making smarter food choices. Together, we can make a real impact on our health and turn the tables on those troubling trends we’re facing.