Monday, March 24, 2014

Tips on Buying Healthier Foods For Your Family

If you are unable or can't afford to shop at an Organic Food store, I have some great tips for buying healthy foods for you and your family at your local grocery store.  Bring your list for the menus you will be preparing for the week.  Shop the outer perimeters of the grocery store first, as this is where the healthier foods are located: 1) Produce (fruits and vegetables) 2) Bulk whole grains, seeds, and nuts. 2) Meats, poultry and fish  3) Cage-free eggs, pure butter 4) Frozen Foods.

I shop at Cub Foods grocery store because I live in the area.  Cub grocery store has two aisles labeled 'natural' and an organic produce section.  Grocery stores such as Whole Food Market's, Trader Joe's, and Aldi's are also great alternatives in the Minneapolis area.  Depending upon where you live, follow my tips as they apply to any grocery store in the US.    Be careful when buying 'Natural' foods, as they are NOT always natural. 'Natural' is labeled on some products to fool you into thinking that the product is safe, when indeed it's usually not.

All fruits and vegetables have a label on them telling you what country they came from. Look for fruits and vegetables that are labeled from Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Costa Rica or locations outside the US, unless labeled organic.  I usually stay away from brand named produce but there are exceptions.  For example, I recently purchased a fresh whole pineapple and although it was labeled Dole, the pineapples origin was Costa Rica, so I knew it was free of pesticides. Whenever possible, shop for produce at your local Farmers Market.

Whole Grains, Nuts and Seeds:
Buy whole grains (a safe carb), nuts and seeds from the bulk bins.  You'll save money and they are healthier.  Make sure they are pure and do not include canola or soy oil in the ingredients.

Meats, Poultry, and Fish:
Buy only the leanest meats, not packaged or processed.  I personally don't eat red meat or pork, but that's up to you.  Choose chicken or turkey that are labeled: No antibiotics ever, fed all vegetarian diet, no animal by-products, humanely raised, and raised cage free.  The healthiest fish to buy is wild caught Alaskan sockeye salmon, as it is full of Omega 3's.  Albacore tuna in spring water and Pacific sardines are also healthy for you. Make sure the fish is not FARMED, but wild caught.

Pure butter and organic or cage-free eggs are the only items I buy from the dairy department.  Milk and milk products are extremely unhealthy for you.  Buy cheese that is not pasteurized and not processed.

Frozen Foods:
Frozen meals may not be as nutritious as freshly cooked food, but you can take these pointers to make them healthy to some extent.

When purchasing frozen items, avoid ones with any kind of cheese sauce. These meals are high in calories and saturated fat. Also, once you thaw the box, do not refreeze it again. Take out only the amount you want quickly and refreeze the rest in case of a packet.

Avoid buying frozen fruits packed in syrup. The rule of thumb is this: check the ingredients. The only ingredients that should be listed in the fruits or vegetables you are purchasing are the fruits or vegetables themselves.

*Always read the labels!

I hope these tips help you to plan healthier meals for you and your family!

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