Cooking up healthy lunch boxes for your family goes with having the right ingredients in your kitchen. We met mom and nutritionist Glaudia Galate to get guidance on smarter choices we can easily make when going grocery shopping. Here is our takeaway on 3 simple steps so easy to turn into a habit!
#1 Make a list
Before you set out for the market, make it a rule to create a grocery list to shop from. This will keep you from throwing unnecessary items in your cart while helping you plan ahead and stay organized.
Another tip before you go: do not shop hungry. An empty belly often results in impulse purchases that may not be the healthiest. Enjoy being adventurous: aim to try a new food item each week. Involve your kids by ask them to pick a new vegetable or fruit to try, every week, you will be surprised to see how curious they can be.
#2 Read the ingredients
Labels don’t have to be complicated to read. Read the ingredients, not just the nutrition label, and look for short ingredient lists. A good habit is to try to avoid items that contain more than five ingredients, artificial ingredients, or ingredients you can’t understand. Foods with no nutrition labels are even better: they’re usually whole foods that are what they are, like an orange, an egg, an apple, etc.
If you are ready to make an extra effort, pay attention to the first three ingredients as they are supposed to go in order of quantity. So, if SUGAR is listed first, the product consists of this ingredient the most, which can be wrong if you are buying bread for example. This said the starches and sugars in our diet are necessary for our brain and muscles to function properly. Just prefer carbohydrate of which sugars <5g per 100g.
#3 Cover the 5 food groups
In order to facilitate the preparation of balanced meals from home, make sure that your cart ends up filled with real and simple food items from all 5 food groups: go for plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy, lean meat, fish, poultry, beans, and nuts… In the case of vegetables prefer fresh or frozen vegetables as canned vegetables tend to be high in added salt. Also don’t forget that frozen vegetables can be just as nutritious as fresh vegetables since it can often take days between the harvest and the grocery store.