When shopping at the grocery store you will see a lot of labels that say “healthy” or “low in sugar” or “natural”, but did you know what most of these labels aren’t telling you the truth? The FDA rules and regulations that control what definitions these words take on is not set in stone, which means a lot of food companies find their way around them. This is why it’s so important for consumers to read nutrition labels and know what to look for in them.
1. Look at Serving Sizes
Too many people skip over serving sizes when they read through the nutrition label on products. For example, if you have a package of chips it probably has 4 servings in it instead of just one. This means that you have to multiply the calories on the package by 4 if you want to know how many is in the entire bag.
Most foods that you see at stores have more than one serving, unless you are looking at single serve packages. Once you identify the number of servings in the package, then you might realize that a food you thought was low in calories is actually quite high in them. Looking at serving sizes instead of just nutritional information is extremely important to do when you’re shopping.
2. Nutritional Information
You probably look at the number of calories that is in each serving of the food that you’re buying, but do you look at the rest of the nutritional information? You also need to pay attention to sugars, carbohydrates, saturated fats and fiber. All of these things are those that you need to pay attention to when you are trying to be healthier. For example, you might have a bottle of salad dressing that is low in fat, but it is high in sugars because they were added.
You will find that there are a lot of sugars, additives and other unhealthy ingredients added to most packaged foods today. By paying attention to all of the nutritional information instead of just the calories, you will most likely choose healthier foods that you won’t feel bad about eating.
3. Processed vs. Whole
Whole foods are those that are best for your body because they are easier for it to digest and healthier as a whole. While you can still eat processed foods, it’s best to avoid those as much as you possibly can. These often have added ingredients that cause you to gain weight. These ingredients can even cause your body to hold onto fat, which is something that nobody wants to experience.
The ingredients that are inside of the foods that you purchase are there for a reason! Never purchase something just because it says it’s “healthy” or “natural”. Determine this yourself by reading through the list of ingredients on the back of the package. For example, in a package of lunch meats you should see just lunch meats and maybe a preservative, not added sugars or bi-products.
Shopping at the grocery store can be challenging, but it is worth the effort if you want to live healthier. By paying close attention to what you buy you will definitely end up with things you can feel great about eating!