What you do at the dinner table actually has more influence on your waist line than what you do in the gym. Of course a combination of diet and exercise is idea but let’s be honest, with the busy college lifestyle sometimes that’s just not possible. So if you have to sacrifice one, skip the gym and eat a healthy meal with appropriate serving sizes. But as I said in earlier posts “eating healthy” is hard to do with all of the gimmicks and false advertising we see on the shelves. Here are a few tricks to avoid those traps the food industry looooves to catch us in:
1. Beware of deceiving labels – When a product has “Low Fat”, “Fat Free”, “33% less fat” splashed all over the box you tend to think it’s diet friendly. That leads us to think we can have more of them. What these products save in grams of fat may make up for ten-fold in serving size and the amounts of sugar and carbs. Also beware of the serving size. Those tasty little “100 calorie” snacks or drinks may be 100 calories for half of the bottle. When you drink the whole thing you’re looking at 200 empty liquid calories you unknowingly consumed.
2. Eat This, Not That Supermarket Survival Guide – I actually carry this book in my purse when I shop. You would be surprised how different brands of the same kinds of food are significantly different when it comes to the nutritional facts. Pick this book up at any bookstore, it will be one of the best purchases you make!
3. Go organic and/or local – They may be more expensive but they contain no pesticides or fertilizers and some studies show organic has a higher concentration of nutrients. Buying local means it didn’t get handled several times picking up bacteria on its way into your refrigerator. Buying organic also promotes biodiversity and minimizing pollution so you’re helping yourself and the environment at the same time!
4. Shop the perimeter – The less packaging and processing a food item goes through, in general means it’s the healthiest. Fruits, veggies, dairy, and meats are all located on the edges of a supermarket. You should stay away from the items in boxes, bags, or cans which are mostly composed of by-products, eliminating the nutritional value.
5. Save the earth one plastic bag at a time – One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone gets one item and gets a plastic bag to carry it to the car!! Buy the “green” bags for $.99 at any grocery store and keep them in your car. They are a lot stronger so you can fit more stuff in them and you have done your part for the environment for the day!