When you go to the store, you’ll find aisle of boxes, bottles and cans with labels screaming advertising at you. They may say delicious, fun, healthy or whatever message the company thinks will make you buy their product. How do you know whether that messaging is true? That’s a benefit of reading nutritional labels. Sometimes, there’s no time to cook from scratch, and that’s when prepackaged food can help, especially if you read all the nutritional information.
It’s not all about counting calories, but about looking at nutritional content.
How much sodium does the processed food have? Does it have ingredients that sound like it came from a lab or ones you can’t pronounce? The rule of thumb is that if you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it if it’s in your food. Some canned is almost as healthy as fresh food. Just read the label to see if there are additives. Some, like green beans, may have salt added. You can save money by draining and rinsing those beans to remove some of the salt.
Are the health foods really as healthy as you think?
Those power bars and granola bars that are often in the health food sections of stores may not be all that healthy. Many contain high amounts of sugar, including high-fructose corn syrup. Some have hydrogenated oils and other additives, including trans fats. Check the label and those with the minimum number of ingredients are often the healthiest. Stick with those that offer unsweetened fruit or whole grains and nuts.
Check the ingredient list to identify how much of each ingredient it contains.
If you’re reading a label and the top ingredient on the list is sugar, put down the product and walk away. Sometimes, labels can be deceptive. Manufacturers can use several types of sugar, such as dextrose and sucrose, which makes it appear further down the label. Don’t be fooled by that. If the product says whole wheat, whole grain flour should be at the top of the list. Make sure you’re getting what you pay for by reading the labels.
- Frozen fruits and vegetables that have no other ingredients may actually have more nutrients than fresh ones, since they’re frozen at peak ripeness and aren’t allowed to sit as they’re transported to market like fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Healthy organic peanut butter or other nut butter contains just one ingredient, the nut or the peanut. If you use peanut butter, look for that option.
- You might think that low fat yogurt is healthier, but it isn’t. When companies take the fat out of yogurt, they add sugar to make it taste better. Check yogurt labels for live bacteria and added sugar. Save money and add frozen fruit to plain yogurt.
- Checking the labels also includes checking the use by date. Sometimes, no matter how hard they try, some food is left on the shelf beyond the date. Find the ones where the use by date is the furthest away.
For more information, contact us today at Travel Trim