How to Start Making Healthier Food Choices

In a world bent on fast food and convenience, eating a balanced diet has never been more important

Jill Reid
Jill Reid
Feb 24, 2020 · 4 min read

My husband and I recently visited a local grocery store. We don’t usually go to this particular one, but I needed a few fresh veggies to round out the stir-fry I had planned for dinner.

We headed to the produce section, and while I scavenged through zucchini, peppers, carrots, and onions, hubby wandered over to an end cap to pick out a melon. After choosing a cantaloupe, he joined me to finish the final selections.

He seemed a little distracted, glancing around the store from time to time.

“Something on your mind?” I asked.

“I’ll tell you later,” he said.

After bagging up the vegetables, we headed to the checkout lines. We only had a few items and turned into the Express Lane. No waiting.

As the cashier rang up our goodies, I noticed the other lines were stacked four-deep, the shopper’s baskets brimming with boxes of cereal, cookies, crackers, frozen dinners, ice cream, bottles of sugary syrups, and cartons of soda.

My husband was quiet… and so was I.

We left the store and after reaching the car, we loaded our bags and sat inside for a minute. Finally, my husband said what was on both of our minds.

“That was depressing.”

I knew exactly what he meant, and it wasn’t the first time.

Everyday shoppers walk the aisles of food stores, making decisions about what to feed themselves and their families.

And the distractions are endless. For example, it’s not a coincidence that, in most stores, the bakery and deli are located near the entrance.

Marketers know the tempting aroma of freshly baked bread, cookies, cakes, and the deli’s fried chicken will draw shoppers like flies, hypnotising them into purchasing foods full of sugar, fat, and useless calories that leave their wallets lighter, and their bodies heavier.

So how can you plan a safe, healthy, and productive shopping trip? Here are a few tips to get you started in the right direction.

Take a Different Angle

If you’re a sweet treat fanatic, scope out your favourite grocery stores and find out which side the bakery is on.

Then avoid it as if your life depended on it. Because it does.

The lure of fresh-baked breads, pastries, cakes, cookies, and assorted desserts can often be more than the usually-hungry shopper can bear.

Prepare yourself for the assault by using another entry — and have something healthy to eat before you go shopping.

Make a List

I know you’ve heard this before — and for a good reason.

Food shopping has a purpose, and many of us forget that within minutes of entering the door. Don’t blame poor food choices on subliminal and persuasive marketing.

It takes discipline and commitment to stay on track for good health. And that means not only side-stepping the unavoidable temptations but also staying focused on the choices that are best for you.

Now that you recognise the enemy, you can fight back by leaving the garbage on the shelves.

Read Food Labels…

…and avoid products high in sugar or sugar-containing ingredients.

Not sure how to identify the culprit? Here’s a list of 56 different names for sugar by Anna Barnwell, MSW, MPH on VirtaHealth.

Fortunately, food labels are available on most items you buy. Check both calorie and fat count based on the actual serving size — and remember to maintain realistic portions.

Buy Organic Where You Can

More healthy choices are arriving on grocery shelves every day.

If you can’t find organic fruit, vegetables, eggs, meat, or poultry options in your favourite stores, ask the manager to bring them in.

Or find another place to shop. Make yourself heard — there’s no reason not to eat healthily.

Changing Your Perspective Can Be a Challenge

Especially if your choices have been based on convenience instead of nutrition.

So rather than doing a complete overhaul of your shopping habits all at once, try making adjustments to a single food group each week.

For example, begin by eliminating sugary, salty, high-fat snack foods and bakery products like sweet rolls, cookies, donuts, and cakes and replace them with healthier options like apples, bananas, melon, and pineapple.

Choose a Different Food Group

Buy fresh vegetables instead of canned or frozen. They’re easy to prepare and store in your fridge. Try a variety of items — even the ones your mother used to make you eat.

Quick story: When I was young, my mom always bought and canned beets — and I would avoid them at all costs. Same with asparagus, Brussel sprouts, and mushrooms. Now I include them all in my diet— by choice!

Whenever possible, select organic options to reduce the amount of ingested insecticides, carcinogens, and other poisons and toxins used by the farming industry.

Soon You’ll Be Well On Your Way to a Healthier Diet

You may even begin to lose a pound or two. And find yourself taking a second look in the mirror.

And don’t be surprised if you discover you have more energy and less brain fog.

Our bodies respond to the type of fuel we put inside them. Getting rid of the garbage is a huge step to becoming healthier and feeling better.

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Mind Cafe

Relaxed, inspiring essays about happiness.

Jill Reid

Written by

Jill Reid

Author of “Real Life” & “Discover Your Personal Truth” | Writing on life, relationships, happiness, health, & personal success —

Mind Cafe

Mind Cafe

Relaxed, inspiring essays about happiness.

Jill Reid

Written by

Jill Reid

Author of “Real Life” & “Discover Your Personal Truth” | Writing on life, relationships, happiness, health, & personal success —

Mind Cafe

Mind Cafe

Relaxed, inspiring essays about happiness.

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