Many of us go on auto-pilot when we go to the super market. I often go to the market after a long workday, and I find myself buying the same foods every week. The best way to cure this is to have a list and plan on taking an extra 10-15 minutes to read those foods labels.
Here is my list of foods you never want to enter your home or your mouth!
1. Trans fatty acids. Also called, hydrogenated fats. These fats are solid at room temperature (For ex: lard). These fats are very dangerous for your heart and can raise your cholesterol. Trade your margarine, Crisco or lard for extra virgin olive oil.
2. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). HFCS has been linked to both obesity and now cancer. It’s a very cheap sweetener and it also extends the shelf life of food. Making this product very popular for food manufactures. You will find it in: juice, soda, cookies, sauces and dressings. Trade your soda for club soda.
3. White flour. Most crackers, cookies and snack foods are made with white flour. White flour will raise your blood sugar levels in a flash. When your blood sugar levels are high, it puts you at a higher risk for diabetes. Look for labels that say: whole wheat or whole grain. Trade your white flour bread and cookies for whole grain bread and cookies made with whole grains or oatmeal.
4. Low fiber foods. Check your labels on all baked goods. A good level of fiber is 3 grams of fiber per serving. Trade your granola bars and low fiber crackers for high fiber versions, such as ThinkThin Crunch bars and whole grain crackers.
5. High Sugar foods. Food labels can be very deceiving. Sugar is listed in grams, which makes it difficult to determine the actual amount of sugar in the food. 4 grams of sugar are equal to 1 teaspoon of sugar. Trade high sugar juice for 100% juice and limit how much you drink. In fact, when you drink juice, reduce it by 25% and add in water to replace the juice.
6. Additives and dyes. When you read the list of ingredients in your food, if you can’t pronounce it-don’t buy it! Trade foods that are obviously dyed, for example: anything blue or red (that’s not a fruit or veggie), M&M’s are a good example of colored foods that are not natural.
7. Sodium. Food manufacturers are adding more and more sodium to foods. Government guidelines limit your consumption to 2400 mg per day. To be safe, keep it around 1500-1800 for teens. Trade soup for low sodium versions. The taste is the same, so you won’t even miss the salt!
This is a great guide for shopping and also for your kitchen at home. Take this guide and read through some of your ingredients. When in doubt, THROW IT OUT!