Navigate the Grocery Store Like an Expert - Stephanie Misanik Health Coach

December 15, 2017by admin0

Perhaps the most important determinant of living a healthy lifestyle is knowing how to navigate a grocery store like an expert.  Grocery store these days are filled with so many items, many of them with false promises of healthy ingredients.  Unfortunately, there is a whole industry out there that gets paid to come up with new ways to trick the consumer into thinking that their not so healthy product is worth throwing in the cart.  In this month’s post, I’m going to share with you some of my favorite tips to ensure you come home with bags full of healthy foods to feed you and your loved ones:


  1. Generally, shop around the perimeter of the grocery store. This is where you will find fresh veggies, fruit and meat in their most natural state.  When you enter the center of the grocery store, that’s where things get dicey and “food” is now processed and found in bags, boxes or cans.
  2. If you find yourself purchasing foods with a label, avoid these common mistakes:
    • A label may say that the food is reduced fat or reduced sodium. That means that the amount of fat or sodium has been reduced by 25% from the original product.  It does not mean that the food is low in fat or sodium.
    • Don’t assume that the amount of sugar on a label means that the sugar has been added. For example, fruit contains the naturally occurring sugar called fructose.  If a fruit-containing product says it contains sugar on the nutrition facts, you need to look at the actual ingredients to determine if additional sugar has been added to the product or if the sugar is simply from the fructose.
    • Always determine the serving size of an item when determining it’s nutritional value.
  3. Buy organic as much as possible. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) send out a yearly report to let consumers know which fruits and veggies contain the highest amount of pesticide residue and therefore should be purchased organic.  The 2017 Dirty Dozen List includes:
    • Strawberries
    • Spinach
    • Nectarines
    • Apples
    • Peaches
    • Pears
    • Cherries
    • Grapes
    • Celery
    • Tomatoes
    • Sweet bell peppers
    • Potatoes

In general, produce with a thick skin is not as susceptible to pesticide residue.  These include foods like avocados, bananas, pineapple, mangoes and onions.

A simple recipe for homemade produce cleaner that should be used on all produce:

  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp baking soda
  • ¾ C vinegar/apple cider vinegar
  • 8 oz water
  • 10 drops grapefruit seed extract
  1. Sugar can be deceiving and comes in many forms. It’s important to look at the ingredients in any packaged food, keep an eye out for sugar in a hidden form:
    • Corn syrup
    • High fructose corn syrup
    • Brown sugar
    • Corn sweetener
    • Dextrose
    • Invert sugar
    • Crystalline fructose
    • Malt syrup
    • Brown rice syrup
    • Sucrose
    • Organic sugar
  2. Eat foods that are high in fiber. Fiber is the part of plant foods that your body doesn’t digest and absorb.  As a result, foods high in fiber are useful for keeping your blood sugar stable and helping you feel fuller for longer.  There are two basic types of fiber: soluble and insoluble.  Insoluble fiber (veggies, whole grains) adds bulk to your stool and can prevent constipation.  Soluble fiber (oats, dried beans, some fruits like apples and oranges) can help improve your cholesterol levels.
  3. Avoid foods that contain trans fatty acids (“trans fats”). These are vegetables oils that have undergone a process called hydrogenation which changes liquid oil to a hard fat.  Consuming these oils is like adding embalming fluid to your arteries.  They are known to increase bad cholesterol, lower good cholesterol and increase your risk for heart disease.  They are found in many baked goods, fast food items, greasy snack foods and many processed foods.  Look for key words like “hydrogenated”, “partially-hydrogenated” and “fractionated”.

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