Last weekend I took a small group of my clients out to our local market to do a little education on reading labels and learning what’s really in the foods we eat. While there I watched as people picked up their items and placed them in the cart. Only a few actually stopped to look at the side panels. I’m not sure why it surprised me so much that people will eat anything and don’t seem to care how it’s made.
As we ventured through the lines on the labels, looking at calories, fat from calories, percentages, what’s too high, what’s ok we also began to look deeper into the actual list of ingredients. One lady picked up a pretty little package of cookies for her son asking if these were ok. So we both looked at the ingredients. We found the second word was sugar and then it seemed that every other word was also sugar but in a different name. In the first two lines we found sugar 5 times all under different names like cane sugar, corn syrup, maltodextrin and saccharose. I told her you really have to be a detective to figure out what’s in your food. I told her, food for thought, if you can’t pronounce it or never heard of it, don’t buy it! Did I mention this label had 6 lines of ingredients! How many ingredients are in a simple sugar cookie, I never imagined 6 lines worth! Now of course there will always be that time when you want to buy that something that’s just so yummy, but on the daily or weekly basis it’s just no good for us! I personally would rather make the cookies at home so I can control what goes into them, but I realize we sometimes just want
So what are we looking at? I look at the protein and fat, this is what is important to me but I understand everyone is different. For me a high protein food will generally be lower in fat, calories and carbohydrates or have a lower fat version available. I find when I focus on foods that are higher in protein that they usually tend to be healthier and usually not processed. They fill me up, there’s way more food for me to eat, and I love to eat and I know when I am careful about my choices that my calories will be within 150 calories of my daily intake goal. When I am in the store I stay outside of the isles and focus on the meat, produce, bakery, deli and dairy. Of course my whole grains are in an isle but I don’t go up and down every single isle just to look and throw processed foods in my cart. Have you seen some of the ingredients in those labels! I have no idea what some of them are and if I don’t know, I won’t buy!
If I need to buy a packaged food, which I may need to from time to time, I try to stick with foods that have 5 ingredients or less. Peanut butter for example, you can find a natural peanut butter where “Peanuts” is the only ingredient. Maybe you get lucky and your supermarket grinds theirs fresh! Why do we have to have added sugar, salt, and oil in our peanut butter anyway? Ok I had to get out of my seat right now and look to make sure I am living what I preach! I wanted almond butter last week and I purchased the organic store brand, the only ingredient was dry roasted almonds. One ingredient! That’s a win for me, but sometimes you have to look at a few before you find it! But it’s there! You have to be on “the hunt for healthy”. It’s important to know and understand how to read your labels. So until next time, stop and read your labels! You may be surprised to learn what you’re really putting into your body! Remember when we eat healthy our family eats healthy!