Do you know what you're eating? Unless you read the entire Nutrition label, you really don't! Even when selecting fruits and vegetables, there are a few tips everyone should know. We've been taught throughout our lives to look at calories and fat but that's about it. We read the front of the box, look at the picture, associate it with how great the media says it is and toss it in the shopping cart. We think we've made at least an acceptable choice, but have we really?
Here are a few tips I use when shopping for food.
1. If I buy my produce at the health food store (I don't shop at big box grocery stores), I ask where it's grown. I'm finding that most stores list where it comes from on the price tag now. If it's from out of the country, unless it's bananas or exotic, it's a no for me. Why? Because fruit and vegetables need to be fully ripe when picked or they haven't reached their full nutrient level. When do you think they have to be picked to travel to another country or state? Most that are picked when ripe, are still about a week old before making it to the market.
2. Find out if the produce is Conventional, Certified Organic or Pesticide Free. Your best choice is Pesticide Free. Certified Organic doesn't mean it's free of chemicals. Look for Local, Pesticide Free.
3. Ask all the same questions at your local Farmers Market. I recently found out that the majority of the vendors at one of my local markets are from out of town. Deceiving indeed! Ask, where it is grown? If they grow it or purchase it from another farm. Is it Conventional, Certified Organic or Pesticide free.
4. If you have a local Pesticide free grower, get all you can from them. Many are selling Produce Boxes that contain a variety of fruit and vegetables and you pay a set price each week. Some even deliver.
5. When it comes to packaged food, take the words on the front and back with a grain of salt. Most of the time, it's deceiving! Go right to the Ingredients List on the Nutritional Facts label. Don't worry about Fat and Calories. If you see words that you can not pronounce, put the package back on the shelf and move on. It's not a healthy choice and may cause damage to your body.
6. If you see added vitamins, that means the food they started with was stripped of its nutrients and they have to put some form of vitamins and or minerals back in for you to see on the label. Skip this food as well. They most likely used an inferior source of vitamins and can cause more damage to your body than good.
I know you'll find these tips helpful and you'll be healthier and happier!
I challenge you to go to your pantry and pull out 3 food items. Read the front and back of the package and make a note of what you feel the key words are that make that particular food seem healthy or at least an acceptable food choice. Next, turn to the Nutrition Facts label and make a note of serving size and then read the ingredients list. Make a list of added vitamins, chemicals, and flavors. Knowing what you know now, do you still think it's safe to eat? Are you willing to throw it out choose foods that are more healthy? I hope so, you're worth it!