This post by Lisa @ Running Out of Wine got me thinking. Back in college, I was obsessed with healthy eating. Or maybe I should say what I thought was “healthy eating.” If the package said low-fat or diet, it was for me. I stocked up on skim milk, south beach diet bars, reduced fat wheat thins and bagged salads. I drank diet soda and loaded my coffee with Splenda because it was zero calories, which means it’s healthy…right?
SO SO wrong. The way I approach grocery shopping has completely changed for the better. Here are five rules I always follow:
1. If it says diet, run…and run fast: Food that is labeled “diet” or low-fat” is typically made that way by substituting real sugar for artificial sweeteners and fake, processed crap. Low-fat foods often contain hydrogenated (or partially hydrogenated) vegetable oils, which raise the “bad cholesterol” in your body and pretty much results in exactly what you are trying to avoid. Do yourself a favor and just buy the full fat version of whatever is you are looking for.
2. Pay attention to sugar content: I’ve always been the cereal queen, but so many of those “healthy” cereals I ate over the years were packed with sugar. The same is true of juices, oatmeal, some yogurts, vitamin water, etc. You get the picture. Just because it seems healthy doesn’t mean it is. Flip the box over and look at the sugar content. It might shock you.
3. Buy more “real food”: Instead of loading up your cart with snack bars and packaged foods buy things like apples with nut butter, pumpkin seeds, carrots, grapes, etc. I’ve made a very conscious effort to not buy typical snack foods and instead lean towards things that can be found in nature or foods made from things found in nature with very little processing (ex: guacamole)
4. Buy something indulgent, but be smart about it: I like dessert. I don’t eat it everyday, but I always have some dark chocolate in the fridge so I can grab a piece to indulge my sweet tooth. You’re better off with a square of dark chocolate than you are with a giant ice cream sundae or a highly processed boxed cookie or cake.
5. Use your head: In an article for Time Magazine author, journalist, food, agriculture and health activist Michael Pollen said, ” we shouldn’t eat anything our great-great-great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.” That is so simple, but so true. Live it. Practice it.
Nobody can eat perfectly 100% of the time. I know I certainly don’t, but I do make majority of my food decisions following these guidelines.
See you tomorrow for Workout Wednesday!