Four Tips for a Healthy Grocery Cart

Coach Beth Thomas discusses how you can shop smarter and better to meet your nutrition goals

How many times have you gone to the grocery store and been overwhelmed with all the health claims on product labels? Natural, low-calorie, and low-fat are all terms that I like to call red flags. When you see these words, you may automatically think you're looking at healthy food. But, be careful!

Here's what you need to know:

● Natural doesn't necessarily mean that the product is healthy. As it relates to food products, the definition of the term is a bit murky.

● Low-calorie versions of products don't always equal healthy choices. For example, the calories on one brand's low-calorie version may be the same as another brand's original version. Also, low-calorie versions may be full of artificial, harmful ingredients.

● Low-fat can mean less fat but more sugar. So, read your nutrition labels carefully and look at the complete list of ingredients when making food choices.

Here are four simple tips for selecting healthy food that will fuel your body and mind well:

1. Stick to whole, unprocessed, single-ingredient foods as much as possible.

2. Stick to the outer aisles of the grocery store (and the frozen section, in some cases).⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

3. When looking at ingredient lists, try choosing products that have whole foods (such as fruits or vegetables) listed as the first ingredients.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀

4. In general, try to avoid products with ingredient lists that are longer than two to three lines; when you see this, it usually means that the products are highly processed and full of junk! Knowing how to interpret red flag words on food labels and quickly evaluate ingredient lists is key to reaching your health and wellness goals!

*Nothing in the preceding article should be construed as medical advice. Always consult your healthcare provider for individual recommendations.*

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