One of the biggest changes a person will make to live a healthy lifestyle is the way they shop. When you've been going to the store and buying groceries for so long, you simply buy what you know. But, this is the stuff that's hurting you. So, you have to relearn how to shop and buy healthy foods—a task that is much less daunting than it seems.
Below is a list of some of the questions and answers Dr. Snellgrove from Eastern Shore Weight Loss discussed with us on Studio10.
Where do you start?
First, start by changing your mindset. The way you see food directly affects your health. See food for its nutritional content, and not just its price, taste, and ease, and you begin to think differently. Second, think of this as something new and education. Let this be a fun, new experience, rather than a chore. Third, make a plan. Plan to shop, and shop the plan. Make a list of what you need, and stick to it. Think healthy, not necessarily convenient, and never go shopping hungry. Also, there are smartphone apps (e.g., Shopwell—can we say this?) that can help you come up with better, healthier options before you leave the house.
Grocery stores can be set up in certain ways, right? Is there any way to navigate the store in looking for healthier food?
Absolutely right. One thing grocery stores do is put all the stuff in boxes, bags, and cans in the aisles. This is a nutritional dead zone. Look around the edges—this is where you will find dairy, produce, meats, and seafood.
Look high and low on the shelves. Supermarkets will charge a "slotting fee" to give the best placement for well known brands. Often times, healthier foods end up higher or lower on the shelves, instead of at eye level. So look around.
What else does a person need to look for in deciding which foods to eat?
Packaging. Most people probably haven't really thought about it, but the more packaging a product needs, the less healthy it is likely to be. Think about how much processing and refining goes into some foods, so they can stay "fresh" during shipping and sitting on the shelves for a while. All that processing, cooking, and refining takes nutrition out of food, and often requires things like preservatives to be put in. So, for example, fresh fruit is much better than a bag of fruit crisps; fresh vegetables are better than veggie chips. Most importantly—read those labels. The more ingredients you see on a product's label, the less healthy it is. If you are torn between two items with similar nutritional data, choose then one with fewer ingredients. Also, in that list of ingredients, the order is important. The ingredients put at the top of the list make up the majority of the product. The ingredients toward the end of the list, are more like bit players. So, if you see something like "high fructose corn syrup" listed as the second ingredient, you can safely assume that product is much less healthy than one where "high fructose corn syrup" is listed at #6. I know this sounds tough, but once you get in the habit, it becomes easier. You get used to reading labels, and they begin to make sense, instead of sounding like the foreign language you slept through in high school. And you'll eventually learn what is good to eat and what isn't without having to read labels every time you pick a product up. But, this can present a big learning curve at first. That's why we, at Eastern Shore Weight Loss, actually developed a meal plan and cook book for our patients. That way, they can actually have help picking healthy meals, making a healthy shopping list, and learning what items to be looking for as they learn a new, healthy way of life.
Eastern Shore Weight Loss
374 South Greeno Rd
Fairhope, AL 36532
Monday-Thursday: 8:00am - 5:00pm
Friday: 8:00 - 11:30am
Closed for lunch: 11:30am - 1:30pm
Sponsored by Eastern Shore Weight Loss
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