If you are trying to eat healthier, the easiest tip to remember when shopping for food is to focus primarily on the outer perimeter of the grocery store. Most fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy products, meats, and natural foods are usually located on the outer aisles. Often these foods contain the most nutrients and the least amount of preservatives and added chemicals. Ask yourself a simple question when looking at food to buy. Is this food processed in any way? The easiest way to find out is to look at the ingredients. The lower the number, the better! If you can count more than 5 ingredients in any product, you probably want to put it down and move on. Most foods on the outer perimeter will usually have under 5 main ingredients. These are called “clean burning” foods and are exactly what you want to focus on.
Also, take some time and actually read the specific nutrients on the back of the label. Even though it may look healthy, the calories, fat content or amount of sugar could easily sabotage your healthy eating plan.
The label tells you how much one serving is. The amount of nutrients listed is what you will find in one serving. The serving size almost always differs from your “actual” serving. How many times have you really only had 1 exact cup of this or that?
It is measured in grams. For example, if a food has 10 grams of fat in a serving check to see how much of it is saturated fat, which is the least desirable type of fat. Determine how many fat grams a day you want to limit yourself to. When you think of saturated fat think to yourself, I am saturating my body with fat. Some items have a high total fat content but the saturated fat may be low. This would be a healthier choice but also beware of the sodium and sugar content as well. It takes a little time and it is really fun at first. although sometimes frustrating.
CALORIES FROM FAT
If there are 90 calories in one serving, compare this to the total calories per serving and one would use up to 15% of the maximum amount of fat recommended for a 2,000 calorie diet.
A good performance food has the most grams of carbohydrates and the least grams of fat.
% DAILY VALUE
% Daily Values helps you know if a product is high or low in a nutrient. The % Daily Value shows how a food fits into a 2,000 calorie diet that meets the Dietary Guidelines. Daily Values are nutrient standards set by the government and are based on current nutrition recommendations.
Protein should make up 12-15% of a performance diet-between 60 and 150 grams of protein a day should be consumed.
VITAMINS & MINERALS
They are listed by percent of their recommended daily value. Vitamins A and C, calcium are required to be on all food labels.
CALORIES PER GRAM.
Some labels tell you number of calories in a gram of fat, carbohydrate, and protein. See how many more calories in a gram of fat than in a carbohydrate!
Always eat before you go shopping. If you shop when you are starving, your impulse purchased will greatly enhanced. Make a food list and stick to it. This helps ensure that you will adhere to your dietary needs and also is a time/money saver.