With September upon us, everyone is motivated to head back into a routine. Healthy eating is often the most difficult to schedule after a summer of vacations, cottages and camping. The first step to healthy eating begins at the grocery store and here are some common grocery shopping myths demystified to get you on the right track.
Myth: Organic is always healthier
Although organic products have fewer pesticides, there is no evidence that they contain more nutrients. Whether your fruits and vegetables are organic or not, always wash with soap and water, regardless if you are peeling off the skin.
Myth: Avoid sweets
There are many ways to eat sweets as healthy indulgences. Keep calorie dense cookies and cakes to a minimum and look for low fat pudding, yogourt and ice cream and add fresh fruit. Remember the nutritional values of foods found on the packages; a ½ cup of ice cream is only 1 ice cream scoop! Dark chocolate and raisins will not only satisfy the sweet tooth but also have nutritional value.
Myth: Fresh Produce is best
Fresh produce can run a high grocery bill, so if health and pocket book are priority buy frozen fruits and vegetables. Produce is frozen at peak ripeness to preserve nutrients making them as or even more healthy than fresh. If buying canned, rinse off in water to wash off added sugar and salt.
Myth: Stick to the store’s outer aisles
Although the outer aisles contain all the fresh foods, the inner aisles contain pantry staples such as canned tuna, beans, olive oil and tomato sauces. Buy vinegars, mustards and spices to add healthy flavour to meals without adding extra calories.
Myth: Bagged salad is too costly
Bagged lettuce and spinach cost more per ounce, but if convenience will make you eat more, you waste less and therefore save money. Romaine and spinach are the healthiest options for salads and can also be added to sandwiches and omelettes. To keep greens fresh, store in the fridge at 40°F or colder.
Myth: Avoid red meat
Lean meat is an important part of the diet as it contains iron, zinc and protein. The key is to eat the right amount every day. For adults, 6 ounces per day is recommended, which is about the size of your palm.
Next time you head to the grocery store do not be overwhelmed by the selection. Use these simple guidelines to begin a season of healthy and enjoyable eating!
By Sarah Bamber