Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Grocery Shopping Tips to Help Keep Your Family Healthy

My daughter has always been a healthy eater. Fruits and vegetables were always welcomed by her and never a problem. But as we get closer and closer to her three year old birthday, my banana loving, green bean-eating girl has become slightly more opinionated, and definitely more picky!

How to continue her good eating habits has been on my mind, so I did some research. I found a wonderful article on Just the Facts Baby that can help anyone who is trying to make the best shopping decisions for our families at their local grocery store.

Here are some helpful tips on how to decode shopping labels to help make the healthiest foods on store shelves from the Just the Facts Baby Web site.

--- The words “organically grown,” “organic,” “pesticide-free” and “no artificial ingredients” actually say very little about the nutritional value or safety of the product. Trust only those labels that say "certified organically grown."

--- Go to the ingredients list. This is where you find out what's actually in the food. Manufacturers list ingredients in order from most to least (so if "sugar" is the first ingredient, you're off to a bad start). Look for words you can't pronounce or terms that sound like something from your ninth-grade chemistry textbook, which is a clue that there are chemical additives that might be harmful to your health.

--- Made with wheat, rye, or multi-grains implies the food is a good source of whole grains, but doesn't actually tell you how much whole grain is really in it. Look for the word "whole" before the grain to ensure you're actually getting a 100% whole-grain product.

--- “Sugar-free,” “sugarless,” or “no added sugar” tell you nothing about sugar derivatives or sugar substitutes, which can yield just as many calories as table sugar and may be more harmful for you child than sugar itself. Check the ingredient list for sugar substitutes, such as aspartame, neotame, erythritol, acesulfame-potassium, sorbitol and lactitol.

To read the article in its entirety, click here. Happy food shopping from Pure and Honest Kids!

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