Healthy eating starts with wise shopping. Aim to keep your fridge and pantry well stocked, so that there is less temptation to resort to fast food and take-aways and learn what to look for on a product’s nutrition label to ensure that you are getting the healthiest ingredients.
Use the tips we provided below to boost up your grocery shopping mojo in no time 😉
Organise your shopping list to reflect the different areas of the supermarket. This will allow you to progress quickly through the supermarket. By sticking rigidly to a well planned shopping list, you can resist the seductive call of junk-food aisles, thereby saving your family and yourself from an overload of calories.
If more than half your usual shopping consists of pre-prepared foods, you need to redress the ‘imbalance’ by opting for more fresh vegetables, fruit, seafood, unsweetened juices and dairy products.
It’s rich in healthy monounsaturated fatty acids and contains the essential fatty acids (EFAs) alpha- linolenic acid (ALNA) and linoleic acid (LA). Apart from the health benefits, it is also less expensive than olive oil!
Avoid the usual less-healthy ingredients such as mayonnaise, butter and creamy salad dressings by sourcing for base ingredients in condiments section such as : relishes, chutneys and barbecue sauces (look for sugar-free varieties), horseradish, mustards, flavoured vinegars, extra-virgin olive oil and pcsto sauces, jars of olives, capers, sun-dried tomatoes, anchovies, roasted red capsicum, worcestershire sauce, chilli sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, walnut oil, teriyaki sauce and jars of salsa.
The above ingredients serves as basis for tasty sauces, low-fat marinades and low-salt flavourings.
Walking through a supermarket when you are hungry can have, erm, unhealthy results (as you may tempted to grab some bites off the deli counter). If you can’t arrange to shop shortly after a meal, eat an apple and drink a large glass of water before entering the shop.
Studies show that people who eat three or more servings of whole grains a day are less likely to suffer from diabetes. If your family will eat only white bread, choose a fibre-enriched variety.
Pre-flavoured yogurts contain excess sugar that can undermine any healthy benefits. If you add fruit at home, it will still taste good, plus you will consume far fewer calories.
Crushed and stewed tomatoes contain higher amounts of the antioxidant lycopene than fresh ones. Some simple cooking suggestions :
1. Warm up some canned tomatoes with crushed garlic for chunky pasta sauce
2. Pour over chicken breasts and simmer
3. Add to stews to provide flavour and extra nutrients
Green soybeans (edamame), available frozen in most supermarkets, are nutritious, low in fat, high in protein and much easier and quicker to prepare than dried soybeans.
A small 80g helping counts as one of your 7 per day portions. Besides this, they can be used like peas in risottos and stir-fr ies, or as a tasty vegetable accompaniment.
Frozen vegetables, which are often cheaper than unfrozen ones, can also be more nutritious. This is because they are immediately frozen within hours of picking (much akin to canned sardines), whereas some ‘fresh’ vegetables, particularly ‘out-of-season varieties’ may have travelled thousands of kilometres before ending up in supermarket shelves.
Understanding the information on food packaging will make you better equipped to make healthy choices. Some of the basic to get started :
Low fat = less than 3 per cent fat (1.5 per cent for liquids).
Reduced fat = must contain at least 25 per cent less fat than the standard equivalent product.
Reduced sugar = must contain at least 25 per cent less sugar than the standard equivalent.
No added sugar: no additional sugars added as an ingredient (Note : this doesn’t necessarily mean a food will have low sugar as it may contain ingredients (such as fruit) that have a naturally high sugar content)
High fibre: has at least 5g of fibre per 100g serving.
Source of fibre: contains at least 3g of fibre per 100g serving.
Reduced calories: must contain at least 25% fewer calories than the standard equivalent. Be aware that reduced calories doesn’t necessarily mean the item in question is low in calories.
Basic Food Label Knowledge
Labelling regulations stipulate that information must be given per 100g or 100ml, although many manufacturers now give information per serving. A note of caution: a manufacturer idea of what constitutes a serving may differ from your own definition.
> 20g = HIGH, < 3g = LOW
> 5g = HIGH, < 1.5g = LOW
> 15g = HIGH, < 5g = LOW
> 600g = HIGH, < 120g = LOW