HEALTH WATCH! HEALTHY SHOPPING DO’S AND DON’TS

A DIETICIAN’S GUIDE TO THE LOCAL HEALTH FOOD MARKET

farmers_mkt_02_o_large.jpg Henry’s, my local health food market is a place of wonder, a fantasy world chock full of hidden yummy treasures, where I can enjoy a cup of organic coffee as I peruse the isles seeking out undiscovered (for me ) epicurean treasures.

More importantly, it is the place where I can stock up on the basics: veggies, fruits, bread, coffee, etc., with little concern as to what chemical preservatives or genetically engineered enhancents may be contained within.

Truth be told, I look forward to this weekly ritual even though I am still a newbie when it comes to buying and consuming healthy foods. Most of my life, I have consumed mass produced, packaged foods concerned more with taste that with what chemicals they may have been enhanced with. But it’s a new day, and I am happy to say that like so many of you, I know better now then I did back then.

So, to help us all reach our goals of health, vitality and longevity, I offer the following Healthy Shopping do’s and dont’s excerpted for the current edition of Prevention Magazine.

RULE #1 DON’T BE FOOLED BY FAT FADS
Bad fats are unhealthy by any name. Ghee (clarified butter), promoted as a healing food in Ayurvedic medicine, contains the same amount of artery-clogging saturated fat as does regular butter and was found to promote cardiovascular disease in four separate studies.

RULE #2 AVOID ARTISAN CHEESES AND PREMIUM ICE CREAMS
As they are high in saturated fat and calories. Stick with liquid vegetable oils, trans-free spreads, and low-fat cheeses.

RULE #3 STOCK UP IN THE “DAIRY” SECTION
Healthy options include: low-fat, creamy Greek-style yogurt made from sheep’s or goat’s milk; kefir and soy- or rice-based items that are low in saturated fat.

RULE #4 FRESHLY MADE DOESN’T NECESSARILY MEAN GOOD FOR YOU.
Avoid creamy sauces. Opting instead for potatoes with skins, and colorful fruits and vegetables.

RULE #5 LOAD UP ON HEALTHY SALAD BAR ITEMS
Consider: marinated vegetable and whole grain salads, olives, and cooked beans. Homemade soups like Tomato and Garden Vegetable, Chicken Noodle, and Carrot Ginger from Wild Oats are all 120 calories or less per cup.

RULE #6 CHECK OUT THE FAUX MEATS
Consider: meat-free pepperoni, bacon, even chorizo as well as ready-to-eat, high-protein, fiber-rich, cholesterol- and saturated-fat-free lunchmeats, hot dogs, burgers, and sausages.

RULE #7 DON’T GET YOUR VEGETABLES IN THE SUPPLEMENT AISLE
Supplements can’t replace the thousands of natural nutrients in whole foods.

RULE #8 LOOK FOR LOCAL PRODUCE
Buying local is fresher and tastier and is more nutrient packed than that which has traveled great distances from the farmers field to your table. Consider also the product’s carbon footprint.

RULE #9 WATCH OUT FOR “NATURAL SUGAR” TRAPS
Specifically, turbinado, sucanat, and Florida sugar crystals, all or which are just as high in calories without any added nutrition value.

RULE #10 WHEN YOU ABSOLUTELY NEED A JUNK FOOD FIX
Consider cookies sweetened with fruit juice, which are lower in fat.

RULE #11 GOBBLE UP THE WHOLE GRAINS
Opt here for 100% whole grain burger and hot dog buns, crackers, cereals, pitas, and pastas. Also consider frozen whole grain items such as waffles, pancakes, pizza crusts, and packaged meals.

RULE #12 TAKE IN A LESSON
Many health and natural food stores schedule specialty classes not typically offered by mainstream markets, such as RD-led nutrition seminars and healthy cooking demos. Check with your local stores.

RULE #13 MOST IMPORTANTLY: DON’T TAKE ADVICE FROM THE CLERK
Regardless of how helpful they appear to be, remember, most health market employees are usually not required to complete any formal education or training in nutrition science.

- – Denis

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