Smart Shopping and Label Reading

On Friday, I shared guidelines for a kitchen makeover to help you prepare for your fitness and nutrition changes.

Now that you understand your green light foods, it’s time to go buy them!

Step 1: Make Your List

Creating a list before you go will help you stay on track and keep you moving in the store…ultimately saving you time.

Identify the key items you need from each of the food groups.

See this example to get you started:

3 vegetables: spinach, carrots, broccoli

3 fruits: blueberries, oranges, apples

• 3 proteins: chicken breast, salmon, eggs

3 healthy fats: coconut, avocado, almonds

3 smart carbs: oatmeal, beans, sweet potatoes

Put items on the list that you know you’ll eat. If you are feeling adventurous and are ready to try something new, then add those items on the list. Make it easy for yourself.

Step 2: Tackle the Grocery Store

Have you heard the phrase…shop the perimeter? If you have, great. If you haven’t, think about your grocery store setup?

The green light foods on your list are typically found at the perimeter of the store. Deli, bakery, meat department, produce and frozen foods are easy to get to in most stores.

As you go up and down aisles, you’ll start to find more of the processed foods that fall into the yellow and/or red light categories. Minimize or avoid time in these aisles.

Look to buy produce that is in season. It will be fresher and tastier. Consider frozen options for those foods that are not.

Buy local and organic when possible.

Step 3: Read Labels

For foods you buy that do have labels, be skeptical. Don’t just buy into the marketing on the front of the package…healthy, natural, etc.

Learn to check out the labels. This may take more time in the beginning, but once you find the items you enjoy it will speed up your time at the store.

If the label has ingredients you can’t read…do you really want to put that into your body?

Look for foods with a few ingredients and with ingredients you know and understand.

Here are some tips & tricks for food labels from Precision Nutrition:

Avoid

  • Sugar (look for trick words and phrases)
  • Other sweeteners
  • Hydrogenated and fractionated oils such as corn or palm oil
  • Additives, preservatives, and coloring
  • Any other ingredients you don’t recognize
  • More than a few ingredients

Trick words & phrases

  • “Syrup” – corn syrup, brown rice syrup, agave syrup, etc.
  • Words ending in “ose” – sucrose, glucose, fructose, etc.
  • Words starting with “malto” – maltodextrin, maltitol, etc.
  • “Made with / contains real fruit”
  • “Fortified with”

At first this may be intimidating to change your nutritional habits. Start small and build from there. If you enjoy carrots and celery, eat them. Then move on to spinach or kale!

As you advance down the spectrum from good to better, experiment with other food items and expand your options. Learn to eat the rainbow!

If you would like assistance with smart shopping or label reading…please let us know how we can help!

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