Your Groceries: High-End Doesn’t Always Mean Healthy

A large brown paper bag filled with groceries( — Most people tend to think of their diet as “healthy”. Shopping at high end markets and eating “all natural” foods can give the illusion of accomplishing our diet goals, but after taking a closer look, you might realize that your diet isn’t so healthy.

Higher Quality…Or Just Higher Priced?

The trend of high end grocery stores that provide us with a shopping experience easily make us feel that by spending more and simply buying from their store we are automatically healthier. Don’t be fooled. There are many foods in these stores that contain just as much fat and calories as the foods you can purchase at a corner grocery store or even a convenience store. The key is that these foods are usually prepared with better quality products, possibly even organic, which does offer some benefit but they will not be kinder on your waistline or heart.

Take the time to read all nutrition labels – don’t be deceived by the words “all natural”, nice packaging and a higher price. Cookies are cookies no matter what package they come in or where they were purchased.

Smarter Shopper Strategy

First things first, the true measure of a healthy diet is a healthy body. If you have made changes by eating differently and exercising more, you should see results. Whether it is losing a few pounds or lowering your blood glucose or cholesterol, your body will affirm that what you are doing is the right thing. If those changes are not taking place, then we have to look more closely at the choices being made.

Remember, markets and grocery stores are experts at getting us to buy products for their profit. You are the expert when it comes to choosing healthy foods to fuel your body. Use this guide to help determine how healthy your food choices are:

Carbohydrates: For snack foods, limit to 15 grams per serving. For meals, limit to 45-60 grams. Always look at serving size of foods and eat correct portion to avoid consuming too much sugar.

Free Doesn’t Always Mean Free: Remember that foods labeled as sugar-free or fat-free are not calorie free. The word free doesn’t mean that you can eat as much as you’d like. Sugar-free products are typically higher in fat and fat-free products usually contain more carbohydrates.

Whole Grains: Always look for the amount of dietary fiber listed on a product. Choose a food that has at least 2 grams of fiber per serving. Don’t be fooled by the way a product looks or the way it is labeled. Be an expert and find out for yourself.

Fruit/Vegetable Drinks: Drinks that are fortified with lots of vegetables and extracts are filling the produce shelves. “Green” drinks, which contain green fruits and vegetables, are now a trend because they appear to be healthier than the usual fruit or vegetable juice. While these drinks really do contain several servings of fruits and vegetables, they are usually loaded with sugar and carbohydrates. Look for lighter varieties or simply dilute the drink with water and ice to eliminate some calories and sugar without getting rid of the benefits.