Take hope, my friend! Below (in no particular order) are a few simple guidelines to identify foods you wouldn’t be afraid to feed your children.
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8 Ways to Identify Nutritious Food
1. Shop the outside isle of the grocery store. I know this advice is borderline cliche, but it really is helpful when you are trying to nourish your family. These foods are (supposedly) the freshest and actually have a short shelf-life.
Plus, this route keeps you from wasting money! Whenever I gander through the inner isles, I always make an impulse purchase on Oreos or a new flavor of granola bars. Really? I wasn’t even hungry for that when I came in the store! The power of suggestion!
Also, bulk bins are usually on the outside isles. I find many of my dry goods there.
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2. Avoid “ready to eat,” “heat n’ serve,” and “pre-cooked” labeling. Convenience is all these words mean, but you are paying for their convenience with your health. By purchasing foods in their most natural, original state there is less chance of additives and processing.
3. Look for ingredient lists of five items or less. When I make cream of chicken soup at home, I use three ingredients plus seasonings. Have you ever taken a gander at the back of canned cream of chicken soup? Yikes! Point made. Moving on.
4. Always choose full-fat. When you see reduced fat or low fat food products, that means the manufacturers have included more sugar and other flavors to keep it palatable since flavor is in the fat.
5. Buy it from its normal place of storage (generally). What I mean is Velveeta is considered a cheese to most people. Can cheese survive without refrigeration? Nope. Should you buy cheese anywhere but in the refrigerator section? Nope. Also, bacon bits. Normally bacon requires refrigeration. When you pick up the jar of little rattly bacon bits off the shelf in the condiment isle, they probably aren’t very real. Obviously this point has to be applied loosely because of the canning and freezing processes. But here I will argue, fresh is best, next is frozen and lastly would be canned.
6. Avoid (high fructose) corn syrup and artificial sweeteners. When you have to buy something with added sugar, always opt for “normal” sugars, honey, maple syrup, etc. Those others sweeteners are unrecognizable by our body systems and they don’t know how to safely break them down.
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7. Avoid vegetable/soy/corn/canola/etc oils. These oils are often rancid and damaging to our body. Here again, stick with “normal” fats: butter, lard, tallow, cream, olive oil, avocado oil and coconut oil. Sign up for my newsletter to receive the recipe for homemade Mayonnaise so you can avoid these harmful oils in your condiments.
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If you want healthy colorings in your homemade goods, check out a natural option of colorings.
Above all, buy what you and your family will eat. If you buy kale because it’s green and healthy but it rots in your fridge, then it is not nourishing you.
Start small. I encourage you to replace one item (creamed soup, stuffing, gravy, etc) from an inner store isle with homemade. Once you have that one thing mastered, choose another! Before you know it you will be dishing up a hearty breakfast of biscuits and sausage gravy made completely from scratch to nourish your family!
If you are ready for lots of recipes to experiment on your family with, check out the Recipes section of my site!
Are you taking the challenge? I’d love to hear what item you started with!
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