As a consumer who constantly hears about the importance of eating healthy, you may leave your market each week more confused than ever about which are healthy foods and which are not. Between advertising, medical shows and internet searches, the quest to feel comfortable with your food choices might prove overwhelming. As so often happens in cases where you are overwhelmed, it is tempting to throw up your hands and say, “I give up! I’ll just eat whatever!”
A better choice for your health and for your pocketbook, would be to follow these 4 guidelines when choosing your food:
1 Make a shopping list based upon your plans for your next week’s menu before you go to the store. You will be less apt to impulse buy when you know what you need.
2. Ignore claims on the front of all packaged foods. Most claims are based upon loosely crafted FDA or USDA guidelines and have little or no meaning. One exception is the green and white USDA label: that is an actual certification that a product is all organic. However, if it’s in a package, being organic isn’t the whole story.
3. Carefully read not only the nutritional content listed on the back of a package, but also read the ingredients. If there are many, and they are not the names of food, know you are buying a highly processed food.
4. Buy mostly foods that do not come in a package. Include lots of fresh vegetables and fruits, beans, nuts and grains. These are the most nutritionally dense foods and will keep you feeling full, unlike foods with simple sugars in them.
Eating healthy is a responsibility to yourself as well as to the community at large, One of the most serious medical concerns today is the increasing number of Type II diabetes cases. On average, it takes $14,000 a year to simply support the medical needs of a person with Type II diabetes. This is an illness that is often related to a lifestyle with poor nutrition and lack of exercise. Changing the food you eat can dramatically decrease your chances of developing Type Ii diabetes, and changing your food can even reverse an established diagnosis of Type II. If you are pre-diabetic, you can improve your standing there as well. I have seen it happen with many motivated individuals who do not want to risk the secondary effects of Type II diabetes.
And for the presently healthy person, there is nothing that will insure your continued good health more than a steady diet of nutritious, simply prepared foods.