Good nutrition, for most, starts with a trip to the grocery store. Unfortunately, even those with the best intentions for healthy shopping unknowingly leave the store with a cart loaded with garbage. The average person's purchasing decisions are understandable when you consider all the mass marketing individuals are inundated with daily that hide the truth about their product's nutritional value. In 2021 advertising in grocery stores alone in the United States reached 1.8 billion U.S. dollars. All this misinformation can make it challenging to buy the right foods or products with healthy ingredients to cook healthy meals.
Who has the time to read ingredient labels? Moreover, who knows how to pronounce the words on the labels, let alone know what they are?
If one is serious about their health and their children's health, there is no option but to take the time to read ingredient labels and learn what these ingredients are to make the best choices.
Doesn't the Food and Drug Administration oversee food safety?
Suppose anyone reading this still has faith in the FDA looking after people's health, especially after the last two and a half years. In that case, they are inadvertently contributing to this country's demise.
Should we be skeptical about our food supply?
If one is not skeptical about the food supply, start reading labels and learning what the ingredients are while frequenting websites like westonaprice.org and then answer that question.
Supermarkets provide a tremendous service by offering tens of thousands of products, but they are part of the marketing blitz. One must be aware that supermarkets are designed to entice people to buy more without considering their health. Moreover, judging by the health of our nation's people, food advertising works; most of us are buying the wrong products and eating too many of them. However, with a small amount of knowledge and guidance, healthy, delicious choices are easy to make.
Hunger will equal disaster.
Never, ever go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. Grocery shopping while hungry is the worst thing one can do to sabotage their shopping experience. Even the most health-conscious struggle while shopping on an empty stomach. When one is hungry, everything looks and smells good. Moreover, a person's ability to make good choices dramatically diminishes, if not disappears altogether. If somebody is hungry, eat first and then shop later to be less vulnerable to impulse buying.
If one is able, leave the kids at home. If a parent has no choice but to take the kids, read this entire article and heed the advice. Several articles cite studies that reveal most parents have difficulty saying no to their kids and spend 10 to 40 percent more when their kids are with them.
Make a list
Studies have shown a shopping list will save the average shopper 10 percent. Make the list according to the layout of your grocery store so you’re not wandering around. This is another great way to avoid impulse purchases.
Health is not a priority with this list.
Children should not make food choices.
Obesity prevalence in the US was 12.7 percent among two to five-year-olds, 20.7 percent among six- to 11-year-olds, and 22.2 percent among 12- to 19-year-olds in 2020. A child being obese is a tragedy for which there is no excuse. A child does not have the mental maturity to understand the importance of optimum health, let alone the cognitive ability to make healthy food choices. When a child's diet consists of junk, especially at home, this is not their fault. If a child is overweight, or worse, obese, those parents need to do the right thing and take on the responsibility for their child's health.
Use cash when shopping.
When people shop with a credit or debit card, they spend up to 83% more than when they use cash. If one shops for groceries online or use a card in-store, they may be better off going to the store and using cash.
Make healthy choices
Processed foods or convenience foods are a no-no. The US Department of Agriculture states that preparing whole food from scratch allows a person to control the food's taste and their family's health. Wow! Thanks, Department of big Agriculture, for stating the obvious that consuming whole foods is healthier than processed foods. As simple as that concept is, most people do not get it, are more concerned with instant gratification, and do not care enough about their health or their family's health. The food industry has tapped into an almost irresistible part of the human psyche with convenience foods.
Many people would rather throw a processed, precooked meal in the microwave or oven than take 30 minutes to prepare it themselves. People make excuses like, "I just don't have the time," or "I work eight to 10 hours a day, and when I get home, I'm too tired to cook." The way I see it, the people of this country do not have a choice. Obesity is the second most preventable cause of death, right behind smoking cigarettes, and its comorbidities are spiraling out of control. People need to care about what they and their children consume daily. The more processed a food is, the more garbage, e.g., neurotoxins, excitotoxins, fructose, sucrose, and vegetable oil, is in it. People must get off their duff and start preparing food using whole-natural ingredients.
Stay on the perimeter.
All the unhealthy foods tend to be toward the center of the store, and fresh organic produce, meat, dairy, and other healthy foods are on the perimeter. Staying away from the center aisles will help curb temptation from convenience foods and impulse buying.
Labels, READ THEM!
Look for Supermarket Strategies part II, where I discuss the importance of reading labels and how to read them. There will also be a few examples of how the food industry hides ingredients.
Michael Furci is a Family Nurse Practitioner at Tenpenny Integrative Medical Center. To schedule a free consultation or make an appointment call (440)239-3438.