To lead a healthy lifestyle good nutrition is essential. Healthy eating starts with understanding what is going into your mouth. Understanding what is in the foods you eat and what roles they play are the key to your long-term success.
We are the sum of our choices up to this moment in our lives. When it comes to our health, to put it simply, it comes down to the food choices we make. It all starts in the supermarket aisles.
For many of us, shopping for groceries is nothing but stress. Deciding what and how much to buy can be overwhelming and downright frustrating.
Anyway, who has time to read all the food labels and figure out which items are the most nutritious and the best buys?
Believe it or not, there are ways to make your grocery shopping more successful. With a little guidance, healthy choices are a cinch to find in any supermarket and we've come up with some excellent strategies to help you navigate the aisles with ease.
Once you become familiar with the composition of foods that are available to you, you can use your newly acquired skills in the supermarket. This will allow grocery shopping to become easier, quicker, healthier and cheaper.
Reading food labels
The majority of us shop with good intentions but are not equipped with the tools to separate the good choices from the bad. Learning how to read food labels can be a great way to ensure that the major food companies are not misleading you with complex words and ambiguous terms.
Let's start with the ingredients list.
Ingredients are listed in decreasing order by weight. Therefore, if sugars or unhealthy fats appear in the first three ingredients listed, generally the item you have chosen is a likely a poor choice.
Next pay close attention to the serving size of the item you have chosen. For instance, the serving size listed at the top of a label is often less then what most people eat. So, beware, if you are eating more than 1 serving you will get more of everything on the label, including carbohydrates, proteins and fats!
People could easily think that the food label is based on the entire contents rather than the serving size resulting in an over indulgence of certain foods.
Moving onto the macronutrient breakdown of the item tells us how many grams of fats, carbs or protein are in the food per serving. Learning to read nutritional information helps you to track your food and reduce the chance of overeating and gaining weight. As previously mentioned, many companies are now hiding the composition of their products behind technical terms. For instance, dietary fibre is a carbohydrate compound and must be burned up to prevent weight gain. Yet it is listed separately to carbohydrates. This is an example of the consumer being misled.
The easiest way to determine if you are being misled is to check the total kilojoule value of the total contents, minus the sum of the kilojoules from fat and protein to determine the total kilojoules from the carbs. (1g of fat yields 37K; 1g of protein yields 17K; 1g of carbohydrate yields 16KJ).
Plan ahead for success
Now that we are equipped with some information on how to read food labels, we can plan ahead for our shopping success. Make a list before you go. This will help you to only buy the food you need, saving you time at the grocery store and potentially decreasing your food bill.
Avoid shopping on an empty stomach. Hitting the grocery store when you are hungry is the cardinal sin of shopping. All that is on your mind is food and you tend to grab whatever you feel like at the time. It will put you over your budget in no time.
Shopping alone can help you to concentrate on finding the best deals and allow you time to read the labels to ensure you are making good choices.
Shopping online will also stop those unwanted items not on your list, that aren't good for the budget or eating habits, landing in your trolley.
Buy whole foods! Less processed food is often cheaper per serving. Simply think about the original whole food that a product is made from and decide if you can eat that whole food as it is. For example; rather than consuming a granola full of sugar and fat choose a bowl of oats with fresh fruit.
And remember by making your own food from scratch you know exactly what's in it - no nasty little surprises, like added sugar, preservatives and chemicals.
Work the aisles from the outside in! More often than not grocery stores have the freshest, less processed foods on the outer edges of the grocery store. Stick to the perimeter of the grocery store, first picking up your fresh fruit and vegies; then your lean cuts of meat and poultry; swing past the seafood counter for your Omega 3 rich fish and finally pick up your dairy and eggs.
Now before you venture into the middle and fill your trolley with nutritional depleted, over processed foods look at the contents in your trolley and only add essential items.
At Vision Personal Training Our job as Personal Trainers is to help you transform your lifestyle in a healthy way that is easy to achieve and, more importantly, easy to maintain. We understand that everyone has different eating habits and believe that understanding and focusing on some common principles will help fast track your results and help you to maintain your weight long term.
Regular shopping tours to the local supermarket will educate you on food labels, ingredients and what foods will help you to achieve your goals.
The Shopping Tour highlights specific foods that will help you reach your macronutrient goals and your desired body.
During the Shopping Tour, we will help you to understand food labels and make you familiar with food composition. This, in combination with macronutrient guidelines and the knowing when certain foods should be eaten (during the day and surrounding exercise), will give you the ability to control your eating habits.
Whilst we do not expect you to know what is in every food item, the more you know the greater chance you have to succeed in the long term. We also understand that new products enter the market on a regular basis. Therefore, it's important for you to understand how to read food labels, so that when new foods appear on the shelves, they can be easily read and analysed.
You will receive a Shopping Tour Guide to follow during the Tour and we fill you in on some little secrets, so you never have to be confused about your food choices again. Book your Shopping Tour with us today!
*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.