Without a doubt, companies spend millions of dollars on their marketing strategies every year, in order to influence your food shopping choices. They employ all sorts of powerful psychological tools, to increase your expenditure whilst you are shopping.
Today, in many cities and country towns, most of us have access to a local Farmer’s Market, where on the whole, you are able to purchase minimally processed and packaged food options, which are organic or chemical and pesticide free home grown wholefood. Unfortunately though, with our lives being so busy, many of us struggle to get to these markets on a regular basis, if at all in some cases.
Consequently, being left to fend for yourself at your local supermarket can be a very different experience, one that requires you to be aware and prepared to reduce wasteful spending, and unknowingly make food choices, which are harmful to the health of your whole family.
Whether you’re a single person looking to improve your food choices, or a mother needing reassurance on the best food choices for your family, focusing on our top ten tips below, will help you not only achieve peace of mind but help you save money on your weekly grocery shop. So lets get savvy about how and what we spend our grocery money on.
Top 10 Tips for being aware and prepared:
- ) Make a shopping list: Preparing a list will help keep you focused—ideally on fresh, whole organic foods – only buy what you need.
- ) Eat before you shop to resist the smells and temptations: Freshly baked foods and confectionary items can be tempting’, especially for children if they are with you when you are shopping. Some grocer’s even infuse the air with artificial scents to inspire you to buy more.
- ) Shop the store’s perimeter: The outermost edge of the supermarket contains the healthier, non-processed foods. Once you become serious about healthy eating, you’ll rarely have to venture into the aisles.
- ) Focus on fresh vegetables: The deeper and more vibrantly coloured the produce, the more packed with nutrients they are. They’re also usually less expensive than canned versions.
- ) ALWAYS look at the Ingredients on labels: Stay away from packaged or processed foods that have more than 5 ingredients listed. If you can’t pronounce a word on the label or don’t know what it is, chances are your liver won’t like it. The amount of any ingredient on a label is always listed in order, from most to least on the ingredients list. E.g. if there were 6 ingredients listed and sugar was the second ingredient, then sugar would be the second highest content of that particular product.
- ) Stay away from added sugars: Added sugar is hiding in 74% of packaged foods including dips and sauces. Please become acquainted with the 61 different names used on labels to disguise added sugar, and stay AWAY from fructose or corn syrup. I’ve added a list of names at the end of this article for your reference.
- ) Avoid ALL artificial sugars: Artificial sweeteners are neurotoxic and incredibly harmful to the nervous system and brain, they can cause health related reactions such as headaches, dizziness and depression. An example of an artificial sugar would be aspartame.
- ) Know what an additive is: Additives are chemical substances added to processed & packaged foods in the attempt to improve flavour, texture, colour, appearance, consistency and shelf life. They are pro-inflammatory to the gut, suppress the immune system, and contribute to the development of food allergies, sensitivities and intolerances. Please refer to the link in our recommended resources, at the end of the article for the top 10 additives to avoid on labels.
- ) Be aware of Genetically Modified Foods (GMO): Unfortunately our labelling laws in Australia do not make it mandatory to specify if a food is genetically modified. Both cottonseed oil and canola oil are grown as GMO crops here in Australia, whilst many of the processed foods in our stores include imported GM ingredients. Please refer to the link in our recommended resources at the end of the article for the top 6 GMO foods in your supermarket.
- ) Educate yourself on what ‘healthy real food’ is: If you follow our recommendations in the above 9 tips, you will be well on your way to expanding your knowledge and understanding for what ‘healthy real food’ is versus fake food. Learn to identify high quality food. Whether you’re shopping at a supermarket or a farmer’s market, here are the signs of a high-quality, healthy food:
- It’s grown without pesticides and chemical fertilizers (organic foods fit this description, but so do some non-organic foods.)
- It’s not genetically modified.
- It contains no added growth hormones, antibiotics, or other drugs.
- It does not contain anything artificial, nor any additives or preservatives.
- It is fresh (if you have to choose between wilted organic produce or fresh local conventional produce, the latter is the better option).
- It did not come from a factory.
- It is grown within the laws of nature (meaning animals are fed their native diets, not a mix of grains and animal by products, and have free-range access to the outdoors). When it comes to beef, look for grass-fed varieties.
- It is grown in a sustainable way (protecting the soil from burnout, and turning animal wastes into natural fertilizers instead of environmental pollutants).
61 Different Names For Sugar
Barley malt syrup
Cane juice crystals
Coconut palm sugar
Corn syrup solids
Dehydrated cane juice
Evaporated cane juice
Free-flowing brown sugars
Fruit juice concentrate
HFCS (High-Fructose Corn Syrup)