Written by Becki Andrus
It is easy to be laid back about our eating habits, and rationalize that our food habits don’t really matter. In our world of convenience food, we can fall back on pre-packaged foods, drive thrus, and other snacks that can hardly qualify as “food.”
Most of the food industry is based around highly processed, chemical laden foods… these products are cheap to produce and have a long shelf life. Therefore they are the perfect product to sell!
But, just because these fake foods are so readily available does not mean that they are good for us. The big businesses in the food industry do not make money by making you healthy, they make money by getting you to buy more of their products. And in order to sell more of their products, they must pack them full of addictive chemicals, sugars, sodium and other substances that the human body is not made to ingest.
These pre-packaged products are marketed to make you want to buy them. They come in fancy, colorful boxes. They are advertised as “fat-free” or “lower calorie” to make you feel better about eating them.
Don’t be tricked, you are smarter than that!
How To Break The Trend
Instead of letting yourself be caught up in the marketing hype, start focusing your purchasing decisions around food that is in it’s natural form.
Stick to the outskirts of the grocery store, start in the produce section and fill your basket first with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Load up with beans and legumes, and whole grains. And then move to the other areas to buy a select few items that you may need.
If you are buying a product that comes in a bottle, box, or bag, read the instructions before putting it in your shopping cart. Look for packages that only have a few ingredients (the fewer the better!), and be sure that they are only natural ingredients (ie. real food).
For example, some of the products that I buy pre-packed include raw honey, oatmeal (100% oats, no other additives), brown rice, salad dressing (the fewer the ingredients the better, I prefer the Bolthouse Farms brand), a few canned items (such as beans and veggies), etc.
If you pick up a box of food and find items on the ingredient list that you wouldn’t keep in your kitchen cupboard, then put the product back on the shelf and walk away.
I suggest that you completely avoid the tempting aisles that are filled with cookies, crackers, and dinner-in-a-box items. Don’t even take the time to walk down the aisle, because you will be tempted to add a few of those items to your shopping cart.
If you do walk down those aisles in the middle of the grocery store, make sure that you are heading directly for a specific item that you need (ie dried beans, or whole-wheat spaghetti), and then keep moving on to the next item on your list. If you allow yourself to hang out in the aisle you will be more likely to add an extra item (or 2 or 3 or 4!) to your cart that contains ingredients that you don’t want to be eating!
Admittedly, eating this way will take some extra planning and a little bit of extra time in the kitchen preparing the food. But as you form new habits you will find that it gets easier and easier. And you will feel so much better because you are providing your body with the nutrition that it needs.
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