Tips on how to shop for food the right way

May 13, 2011

Part of our clients program is our famous grocery-shopping tour.

We take them to a local grocery store, and we show them how to read food labels, get the most supportive food items, what to eat less of, and what to flat out avoid.

This where the rubber hits the road if you want to transform your body, and take control over your health and physical well being.

Here are some tips to help get you on your way.

 Buy as much locally grown fresh foods as you can. I'm an advocate for buying as close to nature as you can.

Buying fresh, locally grown fruits, vegetables and meats can help assure that you are getting the most nutrient-dense foods with minimal "shelf time."

Don't sleep on the frozen fruits and veggies, however.

Some experts claim that frozen fruits and vegetables are fresher than fresh foods because they are harvested and frozen at the peak of readiness. 

 Read those labels. The front of most food packaging is all hype and marketing. Watch out for product propaganda.  An example is with "fat-free" snack foods. These foods often substitute the removed fat by adding more sugar, which increases the calories. Also, 2 percent milk is generally believed to be a low-fat food. Problem is the 2 percent fat content is based on weight not actual caloric measure. If you read the percent of calories from fat on the nutrition label, you'll see 1 cup of 2 percent milk has about 5 grams of fat.

 Go the "whole way." When shopping for breads and pastas, grab "whole wheat" varieties. These products have more vitamins, minerals and fiber than white, wheat and enriched products. Avoid overly refined grain products like white breads and pastas. When reading the nutrition label, look for the words whole wheat, or whole grain.

 Skip the trans fats. If you eat butter substitutes, look for spreads without hydrogenated oils or "trans fats," such as products like Smart Balance, Benecol or Promise.

Trans fats have been shown to raise LDL or "bad cholesterol" levels in the blood, which increases risk for heart disease. Trans fat is a "bad" fat, according to the American Heart Association. We've been eating it for decades, not knowing how deadly it is. Now we know. Stop eating it.

 Get the juice. Buy 100 percent real fruit juice and skip the fake fruit drinks and sodas that are laden with refined sugars, artificial colors and flavor enhancers.

I like a nice cold glass of Mountainberry Kool-Aid every now and then, but for optimum health and energy, stick to the real deal.

Look for the newer juice blends that will give you a whole world of taste varieties.

 Burn these tips into your memory, and shop smarter every time. Your body will appreciate it, and you'll be better prepared to crush your fitness goals.

Chad Smith is a Hagerstown personal trainer, FTNS radio show, fitness columnist and co-owner of Home Team Fitness Training. Visit his website, or find him on Facebook www.face

The Herald-Mail Articles