Food Shopping for a Healthy Diet
Healthy food shopping is where healthy eating begins. Make every effort to become a savvy shopper because your success in eating well depends absolutely on this. If you don’t buy junk, you won’t eat junk! If you buy well, your larder, freezer and fridge will always be well stocked-up and you will never be stuck for anything you need to cook a healthy meal.
Putting in a little effort into getting the right stock will make meal preparation a lot easier. Something that seems difficult at first can be possible and even easy, with a bit of planning. Setting up a routine that works for you will soon pay off, because then you don’t have to think about shopping anymore. It can almost be done on auto-pilot!
Few people nowadays have the time to cook every single thing from scratch. If we did, we would literally have to start with grinding our own flour. So, to a greater or lesser degree, we all need to supplement our cooking with bought, prepared foods. I use pasta sauces from a jar, ready-made frozen pastry, tinned chickpeas and lentils and bread I have not made myself!
In a perfect world, this would not be necessary. But the reality is, that few of us can make everything from scratch all the time. The next best thing therefore, is to be careful about what we buy. It is crucial, when using a ready-made substitute, to choose the healthiest version of the product, with the most natural ingredients and the least harmful methods of processing.
And, no matter what, always include lots of fresh fruit and vegetables in your family’s diet---these should never be eliminated because there is no substitute for the goodness they provide.
Health food stores are great places nowadays and have evolved wonderfully since they first began to appear on our high streets. Today’s health food stores are no longer the sole territory of those with alternative diets, but are where you will find the most delicious, healthiest versions, of many everyday items that you might normally source in a supermarket.
Organic eggs, vegetables, stock cubes, cocoa, pasta sauces, nut butters and even delicious, high-quality chocolate, can all be found in health food stores. They may cost more than the lower-quality versions in supermarkets, but you get what you pay for. Most health food brands do not use GM ingredients, preservatives, harmful food additives, or hydrogenated oils, and many use all organic ingredients.
In my view, paying for a healthier version, made with pure, natural ingredients, is better value than a cheaper, lower-quality version. So, look at the value, as well as the price! And remember Oscar Wilde’s aphorism that “a cynic is someone who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing”.
Farmers' markets are also good options, although not all markets are of the same quality and you need to be discerning about which ones you frequent. Some farmer's markets are stalled by distributors, rather than producers and some organic farmers fly in organic produce from abroad, which is not good.
In my view, if the food you buy at the farmer's market has not been picked locally, the day before, there isn't much point in paying over the odds for it. Go back to first principles always and take heed from food campaigner, Alice Waters. When she goes looking for fresh produce, she always has two questions for the stall-holder:
---Where was it grown?
---When was it picked?
You may think it a lot of trouble having to go to smaller stores and markets, tracking down healthy-eating products. But if you work out a routine, it may not turn out to be any more difficult than what you already do.
When I became a busy working-mother, I no longer had time to go to markets and speciality shops, as well as the supermarket. After a few difficult months, I reorganised my routine, so that I didn’t have to compromise on the quality of the food I was buying.
Now my routine changes according to my work patterns, but I have found that there is a solution that always works, if I plan it out properly. It can comprise of some, or all of the following: organic vegetable box delivery/online order from my local family-owned mini-market/one round-trip stopping off at supermarket, health food store and farmers' market/ artisan goods from local village shops when it suits me to stop.
Whenever I go to any of these places, I buy for the freezer as well.
Quick Food Shopping Checklist:
Here is a quick check list for buyting food. If you follow these general guidelines when buying food, your food shopping will be healthy shopping.
You will see more detailed food shopping tips on this page.
HEALTHY FOOD SHOPPING TIP: AVOID THESE FOODS
tinned /processed food
food containing sugar-artificial sweeteners
products with added salt/sodium
HEALTHY FOOD SHOPPING TIP: BUY THESE FOODS
Remember, healthy eating is enjoyable!
Blessings on your table!
The Good Food Angel.
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