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Healthy Eating begins with Shopping

Healthy Eating = Healthy Shopping

The two most important factors in promoting healthy eating in your family is availability and modeling. When family members get hungry, they grab for what’s available and they learn what and how to eat by modeling other family members’ snacking habits.

In other words, if you replace the cookie drawer with a big, centrally located bowl of beautiful apples, guess what folks will eat? This is especially important when trying to encourage your kids to eat healthier.

Most people realize that the healthiest or most nutrient rich foods are those that are the least “processed” or contain the least amount of unnatural chemical substances, so called “whole” foods. These items should make up most of our shopping cart.

Without spending hours reading the labels of every food item in the store, I have found the best rule of thumb when trying to shop for the healthiest foods, is to “shop around the outside aisles” of the grocery store. This is where you find fresh fruits and vegetables, unprocessed meats, sea food and dairy. In the center aisles is where one finds the most highly processed snack type foods and cereals containing things like high fructose corn syrup and trans fats, designed more to increase shelf life and promote taste addictions to sugar, salt and fat.

Sure, there are exceptions to this general rule, and every once in a while, a trip down the center aisles for the occasional “unhealthy” snack will not be harmful in the long run. But if you can purchase most of your groceries where they are the freshest and most free of chemical enhancers, the better off you will be!

Happy shopping!

Dr. John Monaco

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