Read the Ingredients
In today’s day and age, it is becoming more and more important to be mindful of what we put into our bodies. With more childhood obesity and diabetes linked to poor diet, it is important for us to take an active role in monitoring what we buy at the grocery store for ourselves and for our families.
One of the most important steps to becoming healthier is to read the ingredients of what we buy. Too often, consumers are duped into purchasing products that contain added sugars and unnecessary fats that can do more harm than good. By becoming familiar with the ingredients of our favorite products, we can create better eating habits as well as save money.
What Is an Ingredient?
An ingredient is a component that makes up a food item. It may include things such as sugars, fats, preservatives, flavorings, colors, emulsifiers, thickeners, and starches. Most food labels list their ingredients on the back of the package so it easy to see what is in the product. If a person cannot understand the ingredient or cannot pronounce it, it might be best to look for something else.
What Should We Look For?
When looking at an ingredient list, it is important to look for things that are bad for you, especially for items that are going to be consumed in high amounts. High-fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, artificial sweeteners, and a long list of chemicals, preservatives, and flavor enhancers should all be avoided. Always look at the amount of sugar, sodium, Trans fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and carbohydrates. If something is high in these, it might not be the best choice.
It is also important to take a close look at the protein and fiber content in foods. Fruits and vegetables should always be high in fiber, and all grains should be whole grains. Protein should also be in balance with each food item, as too much can lead to weight gain and other health problems.
Become an Educated Consumer
Becoming an educated consumer takes a lot of practice, but it is worth it in the end. When perusing the aisles at the grocery store, be sure to take the time to read the labels on the items you pick up. You may even want to take a few seconds to jot down the information right there in the aisle. This way, you have a list of ingredients that you can compare and contrast when you are back at home.
It is also important to do research on each item. Go online and read reviews and user comments to find out what people think of certain items. This will give you a better idea of what to expect if you purchase the item. Reading blogs and articles by nutritionists and food bloggers can also give you insight into which ingredients to avoid.
Making It A Habit
The most important part of reading the ingredients of any food item is making it a habit. From now on, when you are at the grocery store, always take the time to look at the labels. This way, you can make the best educated decisions possible when it comes to food choices for you and your family.
Becoming an educated consumer can not only save money and calories but can also save you from future health problems. It is well worth the few minutes that it takes to read the ingredients and know what you are introducing into your body. Be sure to use this tool to become a smarter shopper and save your family a lot of money and time in the long run.
By reading the ingredients of the food items we buy, we can stay abreast of what goes into our bodies and save ourselves the agony of dealing with health issues down the road. Becoming an educated consumer is the first step to leading a healthier lifestyle.