Hopefully you ignore most food commercials and advertisements. I do. And I police myself with broadcast tv, online ads, and magazines that offer gleaming promises of health. The nutritional benefits pop out from boxed and other packaged goods in those dangerous middle aisles at the market, and this week, we are focused on how egregious some of the claims are and offer you five tips for keeping your head on straight when it comes to food purchases.
Favorite False Claims
The grocery store is a land mine for so many people! And the quick stop spots can be even worse, especially if you are hungry already. If you eat out for every meal, your food choices are a ticking time bomb. You absolutely cannot get the right kinds of foods, in the right quantities, into your body when you rely on the nutritional philosophy of a chef and his/her menus.
Made with Real Fruit - do not kid yourself, nothing that says made with real fruit counts as real fruit. Nothing in a box, nothing in a bottle, nothing cooked. Consuming fruit is crunching on an apple, peeling and eating a banana, slicing strawberries and putting them in your yogurt (sorry Fage FruYo).
Boosts Immunity - anything that has vitamins in it theoretically boosts your immunity, so don't be fooled by this benefit. Your immunity is maintained from cleanliness, healthy nutritional balance, exercise, good sleep, and managed stress. Not from a package of fruit chews or juice mixers.
Aids in Digestion/Regularity - few modern lifestyle issues upset basic life more than constipation, indigestion, and irritable bowl syndrome. So it's no wonder that the big food companies will go great lengths to steer you into certain choices along the aisle. A big winner in this category is added FIBER. Eat whole fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains - or some combination thereof - and you will not need a snack bar with fiber.
There are plenty of other culprits: whole grains, all-natural, made from scratch, etc that prey on your hurried approach to food shopping. But here are five tips that you can use to ward off these empty promises:
1. Keep a running list of staples you need access to. Even if you eat out for most meals, you still need a few items at your fingertips. *And for the record, breakfast should ALWAYS be eaten at home because you need to eat within an hour of waking up. With a list of staples, you can enter a market knowing the items you need to purchase without having to browse and make decision based on what you see.
2. Never shop for food on an empty stomach. You always buy more than you should when you enter the market with little hunger pains, totally at the mercy of the primitive side of your brain. Shop after your meal, with your list - that's the best strategy to maintain your logic. Also, stay away from those middle aisles unless you know exactly what you are going for...danger zone!
3. If you are trying to change your habits, RID your kitchen and office of the items that are preventing you from reaching your goals. Throw them away! Boxed crackers, pretzels, cookies, candies, ice cream, soda, heavy pastries....toss them into the garbage (we'd suggest that you give them to a food shelter but honestly, no one should be eating this stuff)!
4. Indulge yourself once or twice a week and enjoy! But keep your portion sizes in check. Many nutritional experts recommend that you live by the 80/20 or 75/25 rule where for most days you take the steps that are necessary to eat properly but that once or twice a week you get to indulge. We love this tip - just don't gorge yourself on a heart-attack hamburger with fries, a beer, and ice cream every week.
5. You must have learned a bit about the human body in school. High school perhaps? THINK about what happens to food after it brings a brief smile to your face when it tastes good. Yes, it's important to enjoy food. And it's important for food to be fast sometimes. BUT, it's mandatory that the stuff fueling your cells, tissues, and organs is stuff that can be put to use. Much of the crap just turns to fat, so learn to love useful food. It can change your life.