Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Stop N' Shop Smart!

Understanding food labels can for sure help you shop for health and nutrition but you should know that’s just not it! Part of shopping smart is to know few yet very important tips to save time, money and get help in “buying” your health.
The Famous List

  • To start with, keep a shopping list and stick to it. This will help your memory and
    Photo credit: Theglobag.com
    save you time as you walk in the supermarket. With a specified list, you are less likely to spend money on items that are unhealthy and that deep down inside, you know you don’t really need, money and calorie wise.
  • In your daily life when you run out of things keep a list in the kitchen with a pen to directly take a note of. Organize them in categories such as dairy, meats, canned foods, condiments, etc.
Shopping Tips
  • Avoid extra shopping trips to the supermarket. If it possible shop 1 or 2 times per week. This way you will save time, expensive gasoline trips, and yes we ought to take that into consideration too.
  • Don’t shop when you are hungry. You are less likely to succumb to impulse items, cravings for unhealthy snacks and foods that are high in fat and sugar. Just think about it, just after lunch, you are more likely to say “Don’t show me that food again” while if you are really hungry, you might decide to snack on cookies while you shop.
  • Try to shop during off hours. If possible shop when the store is not crowded, on weekdays rather than weekends or early in the morning/late in the evening. This will make shopping less stressful and actually more fun and relaxing.
Seize the Day with your Fruits & Vegetables
  • Take advantage of seasonal produce such as fresh fruits and vegetables to increase the rainbow colors in your diet and to increase your vitamin intake, fibers and antioxidants.
  • Buy perishable foods in amounts that will be consumed during their peak quality. An extra bunch of cauliflower that spoils in the fridge is not considered to be saving, no?
  • For fresh fruits consider ripeness, some fruits like bananas, pears, peaches and pineapples can ripen after picking. If you are buying fruits to eat them today choose them ripe. But if you are not planning to eat them until later in the week, buy them un-ripen.
Be Smart
  • Read the food label to compare types of foods, which contain less saturated and trans fats, less sodium, more fiber and less sugar. And yes be flexible as you shop. Amend your eating habits if you find a product is better than another you already used. Note that you don’t have to be professional to be able to compare foods’ nutritional content, challenge yourself next time you are at the supermarket and make a smart healthy choice.
  • Buy family size packages only if you really consume this much. If you buy large quantities and you don’t need them, you’ll succumb to the all Lebanese tradition that “It’s a shame to throw them while others are starving” and Voila! You end up eating them.
  • Don’t forget to read the expiration date at the supermarket and when you are at home, use the FIFO rule: first in, first out so that you would use the older foods you bought first.
Icy Section
  • Buy foods that need a fridge last, such as frozen foods, poultry or even milk. This way, you will go directly to the cashier then head home and right back to the fridge.
  • When buying frozen foods, they should be solid. There should be no sign of thawing and refreezing crystals in the bottom of packages. If there are any tiny refrozen crystals, simply don’t buy that specific package.
Your Eggs & Cans
  • Before buying the eggs, open the carton. Avoid cartons with cracked eggs. Just make sure they are clean and whole. Now when you reach home, don’t wash eggs before you place them in the fridge. Only wiping them with a clean cloth is fine.
  • As for canned foods, buy them bump or bulge free. If they are swollen, damaged, rusted or dented, reject them because these are warning signs for bacteria.
Buckling Up
  • Make sure to put meats and vegetables apart in your trolley and in separate bags in your car trunk. This way you will prevent any risk of cross contamination.
  • Take groceries home immediately and store them once you reach home. If have few errands to do before reaching the house, keep chilled containers in your trunk to store perishable foods in. This way, the foods will stay cooler for longer.
Wherever you are buying make sure to include lots of fruits and vegetables, minimal amount of snacks/junk foods, go lean in your meats, go low fat/skimmed in your dairy and don’t forget to read your food label!
So as you see, it’s easy and simple to be a smart food shopper! You will help yourself and your family by knowing exactly what you need and out smart marketing tricks that may encourage you to buy foods that are not on your list and extra calories that are neither on your mind nor your hips!

Brought to you by Paty M! You can also check this published in Fitness Newsletter.

This is my first article in my new lovely blog! All the thankings go back to Chantal Souaid, whom from her own personal blog experience, encouraged me to blog about My Nutrition World!

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