No matter what your motivation is, most people are interested in knowing that the food they eat is good for them. Of course, there are occasional meals and treats that aren’t healthy, but the majority of people want their meals to be good for their bodies. That means figuring out the health of our food, which isn’t always easy. Beyond what you see in the store, there’s a lot of research that has to be done to decide which foods are the healthiest options.
Don’t worry about having to spend a ton of your free time reading about what you buy. Instead, check out these easy ways you can ensure the health of your food, so you never have to wonder what you’re putting in your grocery cart again.
Check The Ingredients Label
The list of ingredients on each container of food you buy is something you may not often check. If you do, it can be difficult to understand. There are a lot of numbers and percentages, most of which won’t mean anything to the average consumer.
The first thing you can do, though, is to look at the length of the list. Organic and healthy products will have much fewer preservatives and ingredients in their food label than conventional foods.
The next time you’re at the grocery store, compare jars of peanut butter or tomato sauce to organic ones. You’ll see the difference in the length of the lists first hand.
Another trick you can use is to look at what the first ingredients are on the label. Ingredients are listed in descending order by weight, so the first few are what’s used most.
If you see things like sugar, refined grains or preservatives and chemicals you can’t pronounce in the first five or 10 ingredients, the product is probably not the healthiest on the shelf.
Look For Sugar-Free Foods
Unless you’ve always checked the ingredients list on all the food you’ve bought over the years, you probably aren’t aware of how much sugar is in the items you eat every day. It’s in almost everything in the grocery store since it enhances flavours and can act as a preservative.
● Inflame your bowels
● Increase your risk of heart disease
● Increase the likelihood of cancer
● Lead to diabetes in people of all ages
● Worsen symptoms of depression
Some sugar-free foods won’t even have a noticeable taste difference than foods with added sugar, so try it out slowly and let your taste buds adjust.
Research Each Brand
Another great way to ensure the health of your food is to research each brand you buy from. What they put in their food is important to be aware of, but you should also know how they make their products.
Big brands have more opportunities to use advanced technology to make food healthier, so if you find that a company uses lots of tech, that’s not necessarily a bad sign. A great use of technology to streamline production processes is to automate food sorting to detect fruit abnormalities. That way, what ends up in the grocery store is safe and healthy to eat.
What isn’t so great is if brands are known for genetically altering their food to maximize growth or using heavy pesticides on their fields. These things affect customers over time as they continue to consume a brand’s food. That’s why it’s crucial to know what your favourite brands do in their production process to get a better idea about if they want to make healthy food or just the biggest profit possible.
Look For Organic
Have you ever bought a food product because it was labeled “all-natural”? That doesn’t mean it was true. The FDA doesn’t regulate all-natural labels. They just require that foods, in general, are labeled.
The National Organic Program (NOP) is the one who regulates organic labels, so what ingredients are used to make the food are actually organically sourced. Look for products that use the term “organic” instead of all-natural, since that means the ingredients have been verified to be without chemicals and fillers.
Keep Your Eyes Open
There will always be new food products and fads that hit the market. You may want to try these out or switch to a new food lifestyle. Change up what you eat as often as you like, but keep your eyes open to stay smart about what you’re eating.
Look for the right organic labels, read the ingredients and be aware of how brands make their food. The more educated you are, the healthier your purchases will be.
Emily is a freelance writer, covering conservation and sustainability. You can read her blog, Conservation Folks, for more of her work.