When trying to remodel less than healthy eating habits and wean the family into accepting new, more wholesome food choices over empty-calories from junk food is not always an easy task. As the meal planner, you should be aware that supermarkets use every trick in the book to tempt you into buying more, including less than healthy food choices despite your best intentions. Therefore, you need to defend yourself by avoiding these grocery shopping mistakes.
Grocery Shopping Can Be Like Going Through a Minefield With All the Healthy Eating Supermarket Pitfalls
Depending on where you shop, you can often get bombarded with rows of tempting junk food like chips, cookies, candies to boxed displays of supermarket specials with the same unhealthy enticements before clear passage to the fresh fruits and vegetables, one of the healthy eating supermarket pitfalls you need to watch out for.
My first stop is to the produce section. However, the selection in my area has not always been quality for freshness from the pathetic appearance displayed. After checking the color, the look and sometimes by feeling the fruits and vegetables, I often need to walk away. My choice is going to another supermarket to check their produce or just give up for that shopping trip and head to the freezer section to pick up the week’s vegetables and fruits.
You still can be faced with healthy eating stumbling blocks navigating your shopping cart through row after row of frozen foods in the freezer section such as frozen desserts, convenience foods, and snacks before reaching the frozen produce. Around the corners near the ends of the aisles, you often can see another separate freezer with ice creams, frozen yogurt, etc. or a smaller one beside the check out counter to tempt one last time. These are also other healthy eating supermarket pitfalls you should keep an eye out for.
According to researchers in one University of California-Davis study in conjunction with the Frozen Food Foundation, frozen fruits and vegetables have the same or greater levels of nutrients than their fresh counterparts. This is due to the way the produce is flash frozen within 24 hours of harvesting that prevents further nutrient loss compared to fresh. What else that is surprising is how much freezing also seems to better preserve vitamin E than fresh. Stocking up on some frozen produce is also convenient and saves time when preparing dishes over fresh, which is another reason I make sure to always have some packages on hand.
Canned products may contain healthy vegetables, fruits and legumes, but they also may come with ingredients and preservatives that you don’t want for your family. Taking the time to read the nutritional facts on each label and comparing the same with other brands for added sugars, salts, etc. can help you make a smarter choice.
Rinsing canned vegetables, fruits or beans off with some water first before cooking also can help remove some of the excess salts and sweeteners.
Healthy Eating Means Learning Supermarket Codes and Labeling Lingo
The bread and cereal aisles also give a health conscious shopper reason for concern, another one of the healthy eating supermarket pitfalls to keep note of. One phrase in particular that you should watch out for is “made with whole grains.” Although you may think that cereal or bread is a healthier choice, it actually may only have a small fraction of nutritious whole grains and a majority of refined grains. This ploy advertisers use is through legally playing with words with marketable phrases to better entice consumers to buy the products. If you are searching for “made with whole grains,” then make sure the label reads “100 percent whole grains.”
The dairy case is another place that you need to be careful when trying to make healthier food choices. Examine sweetened yogurt for instance, especially the variety with granola, chips, etc. that you mix together for sugar and salt content. To avoid grocery shopping mistakes, notice what you are picking up in those so-called “healthy” snacks. Sometimes, all those fancy extra ingredients added to the yogurt have extremely high sodium and sugar, turning a healthy snack into more of a junk food snack.
To avoid one of these healthy eating supermarket pitfalls, I suggest mixing your yogurt and adding your own dried fruits, nuts or whole grains at home. Though eating plain yogurt is the best for you, it is often hard to do compared to a flavored yogurt. What I like to do is add a little sugar per serving and a teaspoon of vanilla or other extract for more control of the sugar content in what we’re eating. If you prefer the low-calorie sweetened yogurt that may have an artificial sweetener, you still should watch how the brand makes up for the sweetness with extra salt, etc.
The meat section also can be riddled with healthy eating supermarket pitfalls that can result in grocery shopping mistakes. For example, the supermarket labels ground beef in quite a few different ways for fat content in how the meat is ground. Buying a package labeled 90% lean and you still get more fat than you may realize with up to 10% of the meat’s weight. The healthiest bets are opting for a package labeled 95-99% lean.
Meat lingo can be just as well other healthy eating supermarket pitfalls if you fail to understand those label meanings. When you see the word “Select” on a meat package, this is ultimate lean you can buy with “Choice” as second leanest. On the other hand, if you see “Prime” on the package, this denotes a piece of meat with the most fat.
You still can’t get out of the door and pay for your groceries without standing beside rows of candy in all their yummy glory just waiting to tempt you usually along with other impulse items, which can be other healthy eating supermarket pitfalls just waiting to catch you off guard.
Though we all try the best we can to eat right, these healthy eating supermarket pitfalls continually challenge us. Therefore, stay strong and focused on what you buy to keep ahead of the healthy eating game to best steer clear of grocery shopping mistakes.
If you shop the exterior perimeter of the grocery store, you’re in the “safe” zone. It’s where all the fresh, less mass-produced food is.