5 tips to make informed food choices

Every day we eat food, usually without a second thought. We eat what tastes good; food that’s easy.  If it were bad for us it wouldn’t be in the grocery aisle or the drive thru, right? That’s not necessarily true; we need to be conscious of what we’re eating. Some food is junk food and it doesn’t need to be eaten every day. If it’s highly processed, fried or loaded with preservatives it doesn’t always deserve a place on your plate.

Even if you know that some food is bad for you it can be easy to forget. If you make informed food choices while you do your grocery shopping it will be easier to make good choices at home. It can be difficult and sometimes confusing to make the right choices but here are some easy tips.

Look at the servings: Sure, your snack only has 100 calories per serving, but what’s a serving? Chances are it’s less than you think. Be watchful of serving sizes, as some products use unrealistic serving sizes to make it seem more healthful than it is.

Scan the nutrition facts: If one canned item has more than 20 percent of your daily sodium intake in only a quarter cup, you may want to rethink that choice, or figure out where it fits in your daily nutritional plan. Take a look and see if it has any nutrition to offer you. Are there any vitamins or minerals on the nutrition facts?

Read the ingredients: It sounds simple, but it really can make a difference. Be on the lookout for the products listing different kinds of sugar on their ingredients – by using smaller amounts of different kinds they don’t have to list it as the first ingredient. If you are not able to pronounce an ingredient or don’t know what it is, it’s probably not something you should eat. If you’re not sure about an ingredient, look it up on your smartphone.

The simplest foods are the best: There isn’t a nutrition label to read on carrots from the produce section, or any other fresh fruit or vegetable, but you know it’s a good choice. Try and make half your plate at every meal fruits and vegetables.

Drinks count, too: While they may not be your major form of nourishment, they sure can pack empty calories. Check all of the above tips when considering what to drink. Tea, hot or iced, and water are some good choices.


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