11 Ways to Pick Out Healthy Food- Part I

Posted on 2011/09/30. Filed under: Health issue |

Prepared food that’s healthy too
It’s a common ploy. You walk down the grocery store aisle and are bombarded with “all natural” and “immunity boosting” claims on boxes, bags, and bottles. With so many enthusiastic labels shouting out to you, how can you tell which packaged foods are healthy and which ones are nutritional nightmares?Use our savvy shopper tips to choose healthy versions of 11 common snacks, meals, and drinks.

1.Breakfast cereal

Most cereals are similar in serving size and calories but differ in fiber and sugar content. Buy those with at least 5 grams of fiber per serving and less than 12 grams of sugar per serving. The only way sugar in cereal is good for you is if it comes from dried fruit, and not in the form of high fructose corn syrup, molasses, or honey. In general, the fewer the ingredients the better (for example, shredded wheat is usually just that). Stay as close to 5% of your age group’s recommended daily allowance (RDA) of sodium as possible, and definitely don’t consume more than 20% with your cereal


Look for bread with no more than 100 calories and 150 milligrams of sodium per slice, and at least 3 grams of fiber (which rules out white bread). And not all wheat bread is healthy. “Just because something says it might have whole-wheat flour in it doesn’t mean it’s 100% whole wheat,” .Instead, look for breads that say, “100% whole grains.” And it’s worthwhile to read the ingredient list. Whole wheat, oats, or other whole grains should be the first ingredient, as opposed to refined flours. If whole-wheat flour is listed first and followed by other flours, that bread will be lower in fiber. Limit molasses and other sweeteners too

3.Snack bars

Pay attention to the protein content, along with the calories, fat, sugar, and fiber, in these portable noshes. The best buys have at least 5 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber, less than 10 grams of sugar, and no more than 200 calories, if it’s a snack.
It can contain 300 calories if it’s a meal, and 8 to 10 grams of protein is fine, but 20 grams is probably too much. Limit yourself to about 10 grams of total fat, and no more than 1 gram of saturated fat, but also check where the fat is coming from. “Nuts are the best source of fat in a snack bar,”.

4.Microwave meals
Even low-cal options can contain more than 30% of your daily sodium. “You need to compare brand to brand, because most frozen dinners are going to have more salt than they should,”. “Look for the ones with the smallest percentage of daily value.” Also, fat and calorie content is an issue with these meals. They can include unsaturated fats from olive oil and salmon but not saturated fat from cream or butter. Also aim for less than 500 calories. And since this is a meal, make sure you have 10 grams of protein or more per serving. But bear in mind that you’re probably not going to get enough veggies from a frozen dinner, so enjoy a side salad too.

5.Frozen veggies

If you don’t have fresh veggies, frozen ones can fill the greens gap. However, choose products that contain just vegetables sans sauce. “I guarantee if they’re made with anything, it’s typically a cream or cheese sauce, and you’re better off if you just make your own,”. If you like the extra flavor, sprinkle Parmesan cheese on the veggies. One half-cup serving of Birds Eye Broccoli and Cheese Sauce contains 90 calories, 3 grams of saturated fat, and more than 20% of your daily sodium, while the same serving of steamed broccoli with a tablespoon of Parmesan cheese contains 37 calories, 2 grams of fat, and about 5% of your daily sodium.

to be continued …………

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