Lose Excess Inches With These Shopping Tips
Healthy weight management starts the moment you step into a grocery store and the choices that you make while shopping for food. Here are a few tips on how to make smart choices that can help with weight management and prevent you from making impulsive buys.
First, have a shopping list handy and make sure to eat something before going grocery shopping. Next, start at the perimeter of the store where you will find fresh produce, meat, fish, eggs, and dairy. Try to buy organic produce, especially fresh apples, blueberries, celery, imported grapes, kale and collard greens, lettuce, imported nectarines, peaches, potatoes, spinach, strawberries and sweet bell peppers. For canned foods, select organic fruit, tomatoes, beans and soups, frozen fruit and vegetables. Choose lean meats that are hormone-free, pesticide-free and have no artificial flavours. Chicken and turkey are best to buy free-range, hormone-free and vegetable-fed. Organic dairy and dairy alternatives, nuts, eggs, oils, grain products, seasonings are also a better choice than conventional options. Select wildly caught fish over farmed, which may have artificial color and chemicals.
After you have covered the perimeter of the store, you can make your way down the aisles for additional items you may need. Make sure your read the food label and pay special attention to serving size, number of servings per package, amount of fat, salt, sugar, calories and carbohydrates before you place the item in your cart.
Fats: Check the label for hydrogenated, saturated and trans fats. You also may want to read the ingredients list where trans fats appear as “partially hydrogenated” oils or fats. Hydrogenated oils are unnatural fats that give a longer shelf-life to foods such as margarine, packaged snacks, fried foods and coffee creamers. You want to avoid partially hydrogenated oils since they also contain trans fats and lead to an increase in unhealthy LDL cholesterol and plaque buildup in the arteries. Saturated fats are mainly found in animal products and they are often difficult to identify on the ingredients list. The best strategy is to double-check the Nutrition Facts label to ensure they are in low amounts.
Sweeteners: Sugar appears in different forms on the ingredients list. The list is organized in descending order by weight of each ingredient, from most to least. Common names include: brown sugar, agave nectar, fruit juice concentrate, lactose, molasses, sucralose, malitol, corn syrup, xylitol, evaporated cane juice, cane sugar, glucose, maple syrup, honey, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose and fructose.
Sugars may be added to foods as in flavoured yogurt or may have a naturally occurring sugar called lactose. Another example is unsweetened canned tomato products that have natural sugars, which you will need to check the amount of by looking at the Nutrition Facts label.
The general rule for healthy shopping is that if the list of ingredients is too long and have names you never heard of, it’s better to avoid it.