by: Cyndi O’Meara
Shopping for food can be a minefield in this day and age, with lots of conflicting information about nutrition on offer. Making poor choices in the supermarket aisle can often lead to poor health. By shopping smart and changing a few small habits, you can navigate the aisles stress-free and ensure you’re doing the very best for your health.
Take the stress out of the weekly shop by following my tips for hitting the aisles:
1. Ignore Nutrition Information Bars on Packaging
You should never focus on the nutrition facts that are now on the side of food packaging. It is unrepresentative, confusing and misleading. It baffles me how people rely on this for nutritional guidance instead of actually looking at the ingredients. More often than not portion sizes are misrepresented, calories are the main focus and there is no emphasis on the nutritional benefits. Just because something is low in calories does not mean it is not laced with additives, preservatives and chemical ingredients, which leads me to my next point…
2. Always check the ingredients
With clever marketing and packaging everything can look healthy. You will never know what in a product without reading the ingredients so take the time to do this. There are lots of jargon terms used for ingredients but being a conscientious shopper means knowing what to avoid – if it sounds like it was created in a lab, it probably was – use common sense! I keep a list of particularly bad additives on the back of my business cards to raise smart shopping awareness.
3. Try support Organic
Organic food has been around for a long time now, we all know the basics and understand that it’s something we should be doing but many remain unconvinced. I love organic food and really feel the benefits but I understand that in today’s economy it’s not realistic to suggest that everyone buys organic everything. I urge you to buy organic when are where you can, this will benefit your health and support organic farming in Australia. There are several products that retain pesticides more than others so I’d recommend buying these organic if you can: apples, celery, strawberries, grapes, spinach and lettuce to name a few.
4. Buy Fresh, Buy Local
You’ll not regret sourcing fresh food locally; it’s delicious, better for you and means you’re supporting the local community. Try finding a farmer’s market nearby and get to know your local butcher and greengrocer – it’s so worth the effort. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, find out where the food has come from, has it been sprayed with pesticides, what’s in season… You’ll start to feel better, you’ll save money and will never want to venture back to the chain supermarkets.
Use common sense, avoid special offers and deals and opt for real foods and you won’t go wrong. Feeding yourself and your family with beautiful, natural food will pay you dividends when it comes to your lifestyle, health and happiness!
About the author
Cyndi is a nutritionist and founder of Changing Habits – a health and nutrition education company that have gone from strength to strength since Cyndi wrote her bestselling book ‘Changing Habits, Changing Lives’ in 1997. Cyndi now writes diet protocols, cook books, does national tours, has a line of products and is prolific in the media as an expert on all things health.