NAVIGATING THE GROCERY STORE [women nutrition] [health] [beauty]

NAVIGATING THE GROCERY STORE: By Bella Petite Contributing Expert Culinary Nutritionist Stefanie Sacks

It is not often that I find time to read. Typically I put books, magazines and newsletters in a pile and throw a few in my bag wherever I go thinking that I may catch a moment to read in between my mommy duties—my work hours surely don’t involve much reading these days for there is so much to do!

So, excuse me if you have all heard about this before me, but I was recently reading up on the issues that our trusty supermarkets are in discussions about implementing their own nutrition profiling system—in the form of shelf-tag programs—to help shoppers identify healthy foods. What a great idea! NOT!!! Although there are several different “profiling systems” and each uses a different criteria to determine how healthy a food is (there are no regulations for these systems as of yet). Like we weren’t confused enough! And according to one system, Frosted Flakes is considered a smart choice. What?!

Is this going to make shopping easier for Americans (no need to read ingredient lists or nutrition facts labels anymore) or more confusing? Because each system has different criteria, I believe it will be far more confusing for a person to navigate the grocery store. My advice: stick to the ingredient lists and nutrition facts labels.

To make myself totally clear, we are talking specifically about packaged foods from bags to cans and everything in between.

Ingredient Lists

Let’s first talk about ingredient lists. The longer the list, the more processed the food is (less whole). So go for the shorter list. And, keep in mind that the first ingredient is of the highest quantity in the food product and the last ingredient is of the least. So if sugar (or some form of like corn syrup) is number one or two, the food has tons of sugar! Make sense? When it comes down to the actual ingredients, I tell my clients to lookout for the following:

Artificial Colors

FD&C Colors (Food Drug and Cosmetic Colors) are a wide variety of artificial colors used to color food (as well as drugs and cosmetics). Colors are typically a derivative of coal tar, a thick liquid or semi-solid tar obtained from coal. Main concern about coal tar derivatives is that they cause cancer in animals as well as allergic reactions. Found primarily in processed foods (candy, confections, cereals, puddings, jelly, hot dogs, imitation foods, condiments, soft drinks, etc.).

-FD&C blue no. 1/FD&C blue no. 2

-FD&C citrus red no. 2

-FD&C green no. 3

-FD&C red no. 2 (in Canada and Europe ONLY)/FD&C red no. 3/FD&C red no. 40

-FD&C violet no. 1

-FD&C yellow no. 5/FD&C yellow no. 6

Although all colors are permanently listed for use in foods and drugs with the FDA, their safety is not fully proven (inconclusive data).



Bella Petite Hour podcast now playing (with host Ann Lauren) on “FoodTrition,”featuring special guest interview with Culinary Nutritionist Stefanie Sacks.  What is a balanced diet? Let’s take diet out of the equation and call it food lifestyle; then, let’s assume that we are all individuals and that “balance” means something different to everyone. I think most of us are finally convinced that what we are eating needs to change. The question remains: How do make healthier food choices that fit our particular lifestyle?

Spend an hour with Stefanie to learn about conscious eating and gain the tools to be able to negotiate a healthy food lifestyle even when “on the go”.  Although, there are numerous obstacles that contribute to poor food choices, there are many ways around these roadblocks. Stefanie will explore what is standing in the way and offer knowledge and skills to have a better relationship with food.  This witty discussion on “FoodTrition” will leave you empowered, educated and laughing!

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