Monday, Oct 24th
I often have people bring me food containers to determine if it’s a healthy option or not. You may have seen or heard that the FDA is working on redefining the term “healthy” on food labels due to an ongoing battle with Kind Bars.
Here’s the quick and simple Well-Balanced Way to know if you are making a healthy choice:
- Can you read, pronounce and explain all the ingredients on the ingredients list?
Polydextrose, soy lecithin, anhydrous milk fat, glycerin, hydrolyzed gelatin… These are just a few ingredients found in the Atkins Advantage Bar.
A good guideline for the ingredients issue, can you explain to a 3-year old where it came from and why it is in your food? See Mindfulness starts here – thinking about the entire process.
- How many ingredients does it include?
I made an interesting discovering while looking at a label for lightly salted dry roasted peanuts – you’re thinking it’s peanuts and salt, right? Yea, plus the 13 other ingredients to add flavor and shelf-life. Yikes!
- How big is the portion size?
Portion size is at the very top of the label because it’s super important! Some companies still use an unusually small portion size (I’m looking at you ice cream containers) that many people do not follow. The consumer assumes they are doing great because “it’s only 220 calories per serving!” Nevermind, that they polished off the entire pint and now that 220 calories has turned into an extra 880 calories. WOW!
- What is the sodium content?
This is more important for some than others, especially if you have salt-sensitive hypertension (high blood pressure). Most of us would benefit by decreasing our sodium intake; however, at Well-Balanced Nutrition we want you to season your foods! The amount of salt added at restaurants and fast food chains will almost always be significantly more than what you prepare at home.
- What’s the goal?
Is this a snack or a meal? If you have not had the pleasure of playing Lucy’s game good vs better it’s important to note there is no “bad food.“
There are good choices and better choices. Of course, I’m not encouraging cookies for breakfast, but that may be better than going hungry. A better choice than cookies is whole wheat toast, peanut butter, and a piece of fruit.
Food for thought:
Is your food really as healthy as the label claims? There may be more to the story than they want you as the consumer to know. Now you have more tools and knowledge to arm yourself for your next trip to the grocery store!
List the top 3 foods you will compare next time you go grocery shopping: