How to Grocery-Shop Smart!

29 Oct

There are some very simple rules to shopping in grocery stores that will help you come away with the best-possible products for your health. The trick is to be aware of why products are positioned in particular places, what different kinds of packaging can do to your foods, how to read labels, and the best seasonings and spices to flavor your foods. The following information was collected by my coworker, Bethany’s Howard, who researched easy tricks to “Master your Market.”

Five Rules to Live By at the Supermarket:

Rule #1: Work the edges, healthier food is found along the walls: dairy, product, meats, and seafood

Rule #2: Look high and low—big food  conglomerates pay higher slotting fees for food at eye level

Rule #3: More packaging = less nutrition, the closer to the earth the better. More packaging, shipping, cooking, refining strips essential nutrients= empty calories

Rule #4: Learn the lingo. Whole grain means entire grain kernal; multi-grain means more than one type of grain, and possibly refined

Rule #5: Make sure to read labels, the fewer ingredients, the better!

How to Read Labels:

Reduced Calories: This means the product has 1/3rd fewer calories than the original and should include a comparison of the original product and the reduced calorie version.

Diet or Dietetic: May be reduced in calories, sodium or sugar

Zero % Cholesterol: Contains no cholesterol, but may contain saturated fats

Sugar Free or Sugarless: Contains no table sugar, but may contain other ingredients that have the same amount of calories: honey, fructose, corn syrup, sorbitol. Product may be high in fat and calories.

Natural: Very unspecific, the product could still contain additives.

Enriched or Fortified: Has added vitamins, minerals or proteins

Eight Secrets the Food Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know:

1. Numbers can be deceiving; less fat= more carbs.

2. Food can legally contain maggots

3. Truth about corn flakes: raises blood sugar faster than table sugar

4. Quaker Heart Healthy hot cereal has more sugar than Fruitloops

5. Food additives may make kids misbehave, artificial coloring and sodium bezoate are directly linked to hyperactivity in children

6. Land of Lakes doesn’t want you to know there’s no such thing as fat-free half and half

7. Meat Industry doesn’t want you to know the leanest cuts of meat have the highest sodium levels (added salt)

8. Calorie counts may be wrong on product labels
Healthiest Seasonings and Spices:


  • allspice
  • cinnamon
  • curry powder
  • onion powder
  • garlic powder
  • parsley
  • Tarragon
  • Pizza seasoning
  • Creole-Lite
  • Basil
  • Chili powder
  • Mrs. Dash spice
  • Sea salt in place of table salt
  • Bay leaves
  • Cumin
  • Garlic Powder
  • Paprika
  • Mccormick’s Montreal Steak and Pultry seasonings
  • Braggs Liquid Aminos Acids (0 cal, no gluten soy sauce alternative)
  • Walden Farms Dressings/Sauces (0 cal, fat free, gluten free line)
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