If you've ever felt overwhelmed at the prospect of choosing the "right" foods during your weekly grocery runs, believe me when I say you are not alone! From mile-long ingredient lists, to an overabundance of confusing claims like "100% natural", or "sugar-free", it seems it's becoming increasingly difficult to determine which foods are truly healthful, and which foods offer little beyond their fancy packaging. With this in mind, we're sharing three tricks to help simplify your next trip to the market. Read on to learn how you can get the most out of your groceries!
STICK TO THE PERIMETER
The next time you find yourself in the supermarket, be sure that the majority of your shopping takes place in the outer edges of the store. That's where the most nutritious (and arguably the most delicious!) foods can be found. Fill your cart with fresh, brightly-coloured produce, pasture-raised animal products, and the odd frozen staple like berries or bone broth. Avoid highly processed, packaged foods, and reserve those trips down the centre aisles for those times when you need to stock up on oils, nuts, seeds, and dried spices.
FIRST CHOOSE ORGANIC, THEN LOCAL
Selecting organic over conventional may not seem like the most cost-effective choice at first, but you truly get your money's worth in terms of the wide-range of health benefits that organic foods offer. Not only does eating organic minimize your exposure to numerous chemicals and pesticides that burden the body, but organic fruits and vegetables are also believed to contain more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants than their conventionally grown counterparts.
If organic isn't a feasible option, then do your best to choose locally grown produce. Foods from afar tend to be harvested before fully ripened in order to avoid spoiling in transit, so selecting local produce usually ensures that foods have been allowed to reach maturity, and acquire the full range of nutrients they are meant to offer. Also, the average meal travels nearly 1200 km from the farm to plate, so choosing foods grown closer to home is the greener choice overall. Local foods means fewer emissions released into the environment from transportation, and less energy wasted on refrigerating foods in transit.
THE FEWER INGREDIENTS, THE BETTER
When purchasing any sort of packaged foods, be sure to read the ingredient list carefully. Health-washed labels such as "gluten-free" or "vegan" don't necessarily guarantee health. (I mean, cement is technically gluten free and vegan, but you wouldn't serve it for dinner, would you?) A good rule of thumb is to avoid anything containing more than five ingredients, along with any additives you can't pronounce. For an even more holistic approach, opt for the home-made version of foods likes bars, bites, sauces, and dressings. With an abundance of recipes available online or even through Evoke's own Meal Planning services, creating simple, nutrient-dense snack foods are easier than you think!