Real Food Grocery Tips

The countdown to 2012 is on! I wish everyone a wonderful night and an amazing new year filled with love, laughter and wild adventures:)

If you’re ready to start the year off on the right foot when it comes to nourishing your body and mind with the best foods then be sure to keep these “real food’ tips in your back pocket the next time you hit up the grocery store.

1. Shop the outer ring. This is where you’ll find most of the fresh food lurking. Ideally you want to be buying fresh food over packaged as much as possible. Eat fresh and pepper it with the other stuff when needed. Think fruits and veggies, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans & legumes, and naturally raised animal foods.

2. Be a detective. Investigate what’s inside by reading the INGREDIENTS. Forget about the nutrition fact box – that should be secondary! In order to understand if the food item is healthy or not we have to know what it’s made up of.

3. Avoid items with long lists of unrecognizable ingredients. The fewer the ingredients the better! Avoid products that have artificial sweeteners, colours, flavours, preservatives, refined flour and sugar, and partially hydrogenated oils. If there is an ingredient you can’t pronounce then shelf it!

4. Beware of flashy claims. There are a lot of unhealthy food items hiding behind pretty packaging. Remember that the front of the label tells us what we want to hear (or at least what the marketing folks think we want to hear) i.e. “trans fat-free”, “good for your heart”, “sugar-free”, etc. The back of the packaging, i.e. the ingredient listing, tells us the true story. Also, keep in mind that the packaging screaming the loudest for our attention is oftentimes the one with questionable ingredients. Just flip it over and read for yourself!

Note: Trans fats are those unnatural, man-made fats linked to heart disease. If a product claims to be trans fat-free but has partially hydrogenated oils listed as an ingredient then the product contains trans fats. How can this be you ask? Well thanks to a food manufacturer loop-hole products that contain less than 0.5 grams of trans fats per serving can be listed as trans fat-free. The problem is that most serving sizes are so small you will probably eat triple the amount. Not to mention if you are eating these foods every day, those servings of trans fats will add up really quickly. If a product contains hydrogenated oils/fats you’re better off placing it back on the shelf.

5. Watch out for “fake” health products. Just because a snack is only 100 calories, low-fat or sugar-free doesn’t make it a healthy choice. Again these are usually the same food items with questionable ingredients. And remember, just because it’s found in the health aisle or health-food store doesn’t make it a healthy product. Do your detective work!

Here’s to an amazing year filled with REAL food!

xo Elaine

p.s. If you are around Jan 2nd tune in to Breakfast Television (Toronto). I’ll be on the live-eye throughout the morning doing a “Real Food” Kitchen Makeover!

2 thoughts on “Real Food Grocery Tips

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