Oghomwen (Owen) Jones
We live in a world that offers a vast variety of foods, many of these are sold in sometimes super sized grocery stores. Manoeuvring the aisles of these colossal stores can be rife with temptations to buy the various overly processed foods available. The foods we purchase and store in our refrigerator and pantries, often form the bedrock of our wellness. It is the foods that we have ready access that we are likely to feed on.
Let’s look at two of the main practical ways to avoid and/or keep these temptations at bay:
Write out a well thought out grocery shopping list
What is your first action, when you decide to go the Grocery Store? I always take my time, and write a list before I go grocery shopping. The edible items on my list are predominantly healthy. This is a sample of the main items that I am likely to buy:
Fresh vegetables, these sometimes vary as some are seasonal, and/or I have a taste for something different
Fresh fruits, these are also dependent on the season and my taste at the time
Fish, seafood, chicken and lean cuts of various meats, which will depend on my location
Organic old fashioned oats
Nut ‘milk’ (oatmeal, hazelnut or almond)
Brown basmati rice
Various grains like quinoa etc
My purchases are very closely linked to my list, which keeps me focused and stops me wandering around the store. This is particularly helpful when shopping in a mega size grocery store.
Trust me when you do not have a list you can often wander around and purchase items that you do not need. This can ultimately cause you to eat what you shouldn’t be eating…
Another very useful grocery shopping tip, is not to go grocery shopping when hungry. A hungry grocery shopper will likely wander to the aisles that stock ready to eat processed snacks. These will often be opened and eaten before they are paid for or on the drive home. These snacks usually contain little or no nutrients, many are also quite salty, or too sweet. Neither is good.
Yet another temptation for the hungry shopper is tasting many or all of the tasters available at the store. This is an easy way to lose track of what is eaten.
We must learn to stock our baskets/trollies and therefore our fridges and pantries at home, with primarily nutrient dense produce so that we do not readily have access to unhealthy foods.
My motto, is to shop from a well thought out list and to not go shopping when I am hungry. Also remember not to be tempted by the strategically placed candy (sweets), potato chips (crisps) etc. by checkout counters.
Healthy foods/drinks purchased during a grocery shopping trip, is often rooted in our actions before our trip to and while at the Grocery Store.
Paying attention to food labels
Food labels provide information on the ingredients present in foods/drinks. It is wise to adopt a habit of keeping a vigilant eye on these labels. They show how much sugar, salt, fat, calories etc. are contained in foods/drinks. This information is often provided for a specified quantity of the item and/or a serving . An example would be for breakfast cereals, there will be information provided for a typical serving size of 30g.
Increasingly because of various food allergies food labels also provide information on the presence/absense of the common allergens. They also provide information on whether or not these products have been produced in an environment where there could have been contamination by these allergens.
For people with food allergies, red flags should be food label information on the common culprits, like gluten, nuts and seeds etc. It is crucial that people who suffer from various allergies keep a close watch on labels. These allergens can sometimes be present when least expected, and unfortunately have been known to cause fatalities. This is especially so for nut/seed allergies.
Other ingredients that are often found on these labels are various additives. These include food colourings, preservatives, food stabilisers etc.
Are you still wondering if you should pay any attention to food labels? The answer is ABSOLUTELY! These labels are a vital tool in keeping tabs on the some times ‘harmful’ ingredients contained in these products, an example is trans fats. These fats are found in many overly processed foods and when consumed regularly are very unhealthy.
Some other ‘red flags’ to look out, for are the amount and types of sugar contained in a product and the quantity of salt. Also important is the type of fats etc. in the foods we eat.
It is also wise to keep a close eye on various additives. Some of these were mentioned above. They contain no nutrients whatsoever and may take away from the benefits to be derived from some foods.
The general rule is to beware of food products with too many ingredients and all ingredients that we do not understand.
We must always remember that we have a unique purpose to fulfil. We need to keep our bodies healthy, fuelled with primarily nutrient dense foods. These are best consumed close to their source, fresh and free of various additives.
Have you found these tips useful? Please share my blog…also buy my book ‘Moderation Is Key’, in which I share many more useful tips. It is available in audio, kindle, soft and hard back, on Amazon.