You know how they say, “don’t judge a book by its cover”? Well, that’s generally the case. While you’re at the grocery store, however, is exactly when you should be judging the products you’re considering buying by their labels.
Foods may boast that they are low in fat or only use natural ingredients, but is that really the case? To be on the safe side its important to look under the hood and read the labels.
Reading labels is a tricky business. Food manufacturers often use misleading tricks to convince us buy a product, even when its highly processed and unhealthy.
My nutritionist friend, Shir Bensusan, gave me a few simple tips for how to make the best decisions when it comes to your groceries.
1) Don’t be duped by the claims on the front
Actually, completely ignore the label on front of the packaging!
Manufacturers are only obliged to provide the real break down ingredients list in the back. Surprising as it is, they’re allowed to write anything they want in the front.
For example, high sugar breakfast cereals will be touted on the front of the box as “whole grain”. Despite the label, these products are not healthy!
2) Ingredients are listed by quantity, from highest to lowest.
That means that the first listed ingredient is what the manufacturer used the most of. A good rule of thumb is to scan the first three ingredients because they are the largest part of what you’re eating.
If the first ingredients include refined grains, some sort of sugar or hydrogenated oils, you can be pretty sure that the product is unhealthy.
Instead, try to choose items that have whole foods listed as the first three ingredients.
3) Be skeptical of foods with long lists of ingredients
Simple ingredients that you recognize are the healthiest. If you can’t pronounce something, chances are the it is a chemical that is used to to preserve food. You want to avoid foods which are highly processed.
Want to try some delicious and easy recipes? Check out the ones I posted on Pinterest and let me know which is your favorite.