Now that you’ve cleaned out your cabinets and have more room to re-stock, let’s have some real talk…nutrition can be downright tricky. You buy a healthy looking snack with some claim to being good for you at the grocery store, get home, and find out that it has a bunch of junk in it – what gives?? It can be exhausting trying to navigate your way through the maze of fads, rules, and deceptive wording. Soooo we’ve come up with some guidelines to reading labels that will help you fill your cabinets, and your stomach, in a healthy and sustainable way.
In a perfect world, you could stick to 100% non-processed foods, only shop in the produce aisle and meat section, and never touch another box, package, or bottle again. Buuuut let’s be real, a girl needs her snack foods and some nights of the week it can be unrealistic to cook a meal from scratch. We got you girl! Here are the tools you need to avoid unhealthy food choices and fill your cabinets with products that feed you and your goals.
The trick? It’s in the label. And here’s what to look for:
Stick to Five Or Less.
Try to look for products that have five ingredients or less. Foods that have a million different ingredients and are heavily processed tend to be difficult for your body to digest. Not to mention, have little nutritional value. Even things that are gluten free, organic, and have healthy looking branding pack on calories through things like sugars and fats. It’s best to avoid these products if you want your digestive system to work for you.
We all want easy answers to weight loss, but it takes time and practice to build healthy habits. If you are just beginning your food journey, start here these natural foods are great to keep in the kitchen and maaajorly help with bloating and detoxing.
Can You Pronounce It?
If you can’t pronounce an ingredient listed on the nutrition label of whatever you’re about to eat, chances are it’s not made in nature and shouldn’t go in your body. Sometimes simple ingredients have the scientific name and the common name listed. Hint, hint…you can usually tell if that particular ingredient is okay based on the common name. But if you’re not sure what something is, it shouldn’t be in your pantry or body, so best to put it back on the shelf.
Pay attention to your Daily Values (DV’s)
Daily Values are percentages of ingredients and are typically in accordance with a 2,000 calorie daily diet. Use percentages to gage the value of nutrients in your food in terms of how much you need or should have per day. Below 5% is low, and should be reserved for fats, sugars, and sodium. Above 20% is typically high, and should be reserved for vitamins and the other goods like healthy fats and proteins.
If you are a snacker, it can be easy to stray away from these daily values. But babe, it’s soo important to make sure you know what and exactly how much you are putting in your body. Here are my top 10 favorite snack foods I make sure to prep and pack when I am on the go and know they are a healthy substitution.
Every nutrition label has a serving size, and also lists the number of servings in the package. For example, you might pick up a package of chips that says there are 150 calories per serving. Great, right?! Not always…if the bag has 4 servings in it, that means that the bag of chips is actually 600 calories, even though you see 150 on the label. Make sure you’re doing that math to stay on top of how many calories you’re actually eating in a sitting. If you are trying to maintain or lose weight, these tips to living guiltless, happy, and healthy are your key.
Don’t Spend It All In One Place
In addition to paying attention to the total number of calories, make sure that you’re looking at what is in those calories. If you’re trying to eat in a calorie deficit, or maintain, you want to be smart about how you’re spending calories throughout the day. Avoid foods high in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, sodium, and sugars. Instead, look for foods high in vitamins, potassium, iron, calcium, and other goodies. Fats like monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are great for you in moderation and can be found in things like nuts, fish, olive oil, and other good oil. If you’re going to spend the calories, make sure your body can put them to good use! Learn more about my relationship with food and my weight loss journey by clicking here.
Feel free to print out this list of tips and carry it with you to the grocery store, because it will honestly change the game in terms of your eating habits. And that’s exactly what we’re trying to do – build good habits through things like the Summer Shape Up Challenge and following the Hot Body Meal Plan so we can practice healthy eating all day every day instead of just during a challenge! This is the best way to see long lasting results.
If you are starting from the square 1, aka cleaning out your cabinets – watch this video to get inspired and get organized, so in turn you can live a healthier lifestyle from the inside out.