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How To: Healthy Shopping

By Sara Butler

If you’re like most people, you probably go to the grocery store at least once a week. Once there, you’re inundated with all kinds of products promising to be healthy and good for you. Look, you don’t have to know the meaning of all those health buzzwords to know how to keep your cart full of the healthy stuff. Here are a few easy rules you can follow while at the store to make sure you’re only getting the good stuff.

Rule No. 1: Stay on the Perimeter

Most stores are set up the same way: Produce, meat, and dairy are on the outskirts while all the boxed and heavily processed stuff is located on the inside aisles. If you want the best shot of staying healthy, then your best bet is to shop on the perimeter. You may need things on the inner aisles, but shop there with caution, recognizing that most of the prepackaged stuff barely qualifies as real food!

Rule No. 2: If Your Great Grandfather Couldn’t Recognize It, Don’t Eat It

This one may sound a bit bizarre, but it goes back to the idea that highly processed foods have no place in your grocery cart! Consider the days before red dye #40 and think to yourself, “If people 100 years ago wouldn’t recognize this, then I shouldn’t eat it.”

Think about this: If companies actually had to label their products with warnings about potential side effects of eating it, would you serve it? Probably not! Some food additives have been linked to cancer, obesity, and high blood pressure – just to name a few things. It’s best to keep it simple.

Rule No. 3: The Fewer Ingredients, the Better

If you look at the food label and see a laundry list of ingredients, then you need to pass on it. The foods you should focus on eating should have only one ingredient, such as an apple, an egg, or head of cauliflower. When it comes to what you put on your family’s dinner table, the fewer ingredients, the better.

If you notice one overwhelming trait among these rules it should be this: Simple is better. Don’t buy prepackaged and highly processed foods that contain as many ingredients as jet fuel. By sticking to foods that are closer to their natural state, you’re ensuring that you’re feeding you and your family the things they need to be healthy and stay that way!

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