I love people watching at grocery stores. It always makes me smile to see people standing in the aisles staring and squinting at the backs of cans and sides of boxes.
There are people who will not drop 1 item in their cart until they check out the food label and make sure it clears all their checks. But I often wonder – what are they looking for?
I want to walk up to people and say, “What exactly are you looking for that is going to allow you to drop that item in your cart. What is the pass/fail criteria for your food?”
Do you really know what you’re looking at or does it just make you feel better when one item has less of something than what you usually buy?
Well today, I’m going to give you a few EASY to follow guidelines to help reading those labels MUCH easier.
Look for foods with no labels
This one makes it real simple to read labels, just buy the foods that have no labels. Take a walk through the produce department or buy the butcher or where they have fresh fish. You are not going to find too many food labels, because they’re not required for the foods that have not been ALTERED. The healthiest foods you’re going to find in whatever store you shop in usually don’t have labels at all.
Count the ingredients
The FIRST thing you should always look for on a food label is the ingredients. Forget the calories or proteins or whatever you normally look for. Go right to the part where it says INGREDIENTS and take a look.
First, check how many ingredients there are: generally speaking, the fewer, the better. So if you’re buying peanut butter, you want peanuts in there and not much else. Also, if you see a word and you have never seen it before or can NOT pronounce it, do you really want to put it in your body?
This is one that food companies are getting smarter with and starting to use artificial sweeteners to hide, but still holds up overall. If there is one thing that you DO NOT need any more of (and should probably cut out completely), it’s SUGAR.
So if you are going to be buying something in a can, box or jar and you want to be a label checker, look for SUGAR.
No cartoon characters
This one is more for the kids in your world, but unfortunate applies to adults as well. Anything – and I mean ANYTHING – that has a cartoon character on the box or can, just put it back. That’s it, that’s the rule, don’t buy it.
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