April 29, 2014
I run occasional grocery store tours with clients and they are often confused about which specific product to buy or which is healthiest when there is a vast array of options on the shelves. There are often so many options that it creates confusion about which product should end up in your cart. When you stand in the breakfast aisle or the dairy aisle and take it all in, it is staggering the number of “options” and flavors available. Wait…why is option in quotes?
I have good news and better news.
First, the good news.
There are far less options than you think there are. If you read enough labels of say, breakfast cereals, for example, you will start to see that there are several ingredients that keep showing up over and over that make up the majority of the cereals. There are lots of different shapes, colors, and textures, but there is little variety in construction. And most of those ingredients are often ones you are better of avoiding if you care about your health.
While on a grocery store tour with clients, we were in the dairy aisle, and I was asked, “Which yogurt should I buy?” As we surveyed the offerings on the shelves – I noticed that about a third of the aisle was taken up by yogurt. With the popularity of Greek yogurt, there are now seemingly endless flavor varieties and fat content offerings for both regular yogurt and Greek yogurt.
And as with a lot of the cereal aisle items, you begin to notice similar trends. Lots of added sugars, and very little of the actual fruit that is advertised on the cartons of yogurt. There is often the “showcase” fruit like pomegranate featured on the front, but when you read the ingredients, pomegranate is the last ingredient and you see that there is grape or apple used as a sweetener/substitute for the more desirable – and expensive – fruit touted on the front.
And now, the better news.
My answer to the question above was this: “Plain yogurt.” And after we got through all the “But I don’t like plain, it’s boring” comments, I taught them this: Buy plain yogurt (either regular or Greek to your preference) and then take the bold and daring move of simply adding your own fruit – real fruit – in the manner and amount you want.
So instead of buying strawberry yogurt with several teaspoons of sugar in it and a dash of strawberry, you can buy plain yogurt and real strawberries and add them yourself while skipping the added sugar.
And you just keep doing this with other foods in addition to yogurt.
No more need to buy brown sugar and cinnamon or banana walnut oatmeal. Say goodbye to “crunch” versions of cereals that often get their crunch from sugars. And lots of cereals seem to feel the need to add sugar to raisins – already a very sweet fruit.
Just buy the plain oatmeal and add your own fruit. Buy the “boring” cereal made only from 100% whole grains and add your own real fruit.
It really is this simple to know what to buy. Just buy the “plain” or “original” flavor oatmeal or yogurt, then get the real version of the fruit or nuts featured on the label and add them to your bowl.
You’re getting more of what you want and need and less of what you don’t. And your decision-making at the store becomes vastly easier as well. So just remember the formula when you go shopping: Original (flavor) + Real (food) = Better
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