- Whole, natural food in it’s original form is best.
- Most of the natural, whole foods are found on the perimeters of the store. Buy the majority of your food there. The middle aisles are full of canned and box “foods.”
- Fill your cart with colorful vegetables and fruits. Organic is best.
- Visit the bulk food section for dry foods such as nuts, grains, and seeds. Stick to bins with only one item listed on the ingredient list.
- If you consume dairy, choose organic and/or raw products.
- Buy organic, pastured meats and eggs. Look for 100% grass fed meat.
- Read the ingredient lists of the packaged foods you do buy. If you don’t recognize or can’t pronounce some of the ingredients – don’t buy it.
- Aim for items with 5 or less ingredients, there are some exceptions. The key is you want to know what each ingredient is.
- If an item is something you can make at home, it’s usually a better choice for your health to do so! (see recipes section)
- Stay away from most shelf stable foods. Some exceptions include canned fish, olives, honey, nut flowers, nut butter, oils, whole grains, and salsa.
- The 80/20 rule. Make 80% of your cart healthy, whole foods. 20% for whatever you want. Practice moderation instead of deprivation.
Buyer Beware: Health claims on packages can be misleading. Become the food detective when you are shopping. Focus on the food labels and ingredient lists rather than health claims.
Health claims such as heart healthy, low cholesterol, all natural, low fat/ fat free, sugar free, gluten free, and even organic, does NOT mean the item is healthy. A few examples of such items are butter substitutes, yogurt, cheese, coffee creamers, cereals, and salad dressings. Instead, go for the food in it’s natural form.
- Anything with “sugar” listed as maltose, dextrose, sucrose, fructose, glucose, corn syrup, sorbitol, mannitol, cane sugar, and maltodextrin.
- Trans fats listed as hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil (even if the label or package says trans fat free).
- Ingredients you cannot pronounce or don’t recognize. A partial list includes BHA, BHT, natural flavors, artificial flavor, sodium benzoate, sodium nitrite, MSG, high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, sucralose, saccharin, food dyes, carrageenan, sodium sulfite, potassium bromate, yeast extract, dimethylpolysiloxane, sulfur dioxide. None of these are real food!
- Processed oils such as soybean, canola and vegetable oils. GMO’s.