This article will examine how safe grocery store ready-made food products are and which ones we should watch out for.
With every passing day, we increasingly buy ready-made foodstuffs from the market, owing to the scarcity of time to cook at home. Both men and women are frequently working shoulder to shoulder outside homes, and cooking at home is taking a back seat. In such times, processed foods in grocery and convenience stores are easy-pick and save a lot of time and energy. Catering to this increasing demand for ready-to-eat snack foods and meals, many companies have jumped into making processed and packed food, and grocery stores are now flooded with multiple brands with new varieties in colorful packs.
In an era of heavy commercialization of food, a big chunk of the raw materials we use to prepare food at home are now made in factories and sold to us through glamorous advertisements and colorful displays in grocery stores.
It is very tempting to pick these food packs. But, how healthy are these food products? Which are the foodstuffs we should avoid or buy carefully while shopping?
Three such food categories are given below:
Biscuits are our everyday tea-time snacks and have become omnipresent. They are available in so many different varieties, flavors, and textures. But, most biscuits come with added white sugar, vegetable oil, and refined flour. Even multigrain ones have a large quantity of refined flour. Added artificial colors and flavoring agents are common in biscuits. They may taste good, but their nutritional value is negligible. If we cannot avoid eating them, we can surely buy ones that have better composition, and we can certainly reduce their consumption.
Bread has become a household staple food. So much so that it has become synonymous with flat breads in Indian households. Bread comes in many forms and shapes - regular sliced bread, buns, loaves, puffs, pizza base, burgers, croissants, fruit cake, etc. Even cakes and pastries come in this category. But, all these foods are extremely low in nutrient value and are loaded with trans fats, refined flour, and simple sugars. A big reason for obesity is the overconsumption of these readily available foods. Again, we need to watch out against overconsumption of these without making it a regular habit.
3. Salty Snacks:
Our favorite potato wafers, crackers, french fries, and salty mixtures in colorful packets are in these categories. They are our leisure-time snacks while watching television or having a casual chat. No matter how crispy and tangy they are, they have loads of salt and vegetable oils. Daily intake can lead to obesity and hypertension. We easily overeat them, adding up a large number of calories. Therefore their consumption must not be very often.
If we cannot resist buying the above categories of foods, we can indeed reduce the quantities that we purchase and avoid eating them on a daily basis. We should look for healthier snacking options available in stores and can be made at home as well quickly, such as - roasted peanuts, roasted peas, fox-nuts, plain puffed rice, baked sweet potatoes, steamed corn salad, sprouts salad, home-baked multigrain bread, and cookies.
Healthy snacking goes a long way in avoiding excess calorie intake and increasing our dose of macro and micronutrients, which are essential for our long-term health. Developing this habit in children goes a long way in their balanced physical and mental growth.
Use a Handbasket:
Portion control applies to grocery shopping also. Despite using portion control for the meals, engaging it in shopping can prove to be helpful, both health-wise and money-wise. So, taking a handbasket instead of a trolley for shopping can reduce the number of unessential products bought. This can make buying only the needed grocery items and avoiding processed foods and snacks. Especially when dieting, stacking your pantry with snacks can cause you to crunch on it, thus making it challenging to stay on a diet.
Stick to Your Needs:
Every supermarket has different blocks for each type of food. Stick to the blocks where the products you need are present instead of roaming around. This type of perimeter shopping helps in reducing the shopping of unwanted products. Stay mindful and avoid distractions created by other sections of the supermarket. In this way, the purchase of other tempting, unhealthy food packages can be avoided.
Know About Nutrition Labels:
You must learn to identify the different ingredients and additives used in the foods you consume. This can make you mindful of the diet and help you keep your food portions in control. Getting to know what is actually present inside the package can make the purchase of groceries healthy.
Take Real Food:
Processed foods contain several additives, food colorings, and preservatives, which do not possess the needed nutritional characteristics. Therefore, stick to natural foods that can be cooked at home instead of picking processed foods. This can provide you with the essential nutrients.
Buy Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables:
Seasonal fruits and vegetables offer a lot of nutrients. The seasonal products have good taste as they are produced in the appropriate season, cost-effective, and fresh because they are local products and have not traveled a long distance.
Avoid Special Offers:
Do not buy items that are not on your list just because there is a good offer for them. Although getting an offer is good, purchasing items that are not intended may have a toll on your diet, especially when you buy processed foods and snacks.
Shopping for grocery items can have a massive impact on your food intake and dietary habits. Therefore, while shopping, always stick to products that are essential and healthy for your body rather than choosing products that are easy to cook but are processed and less nutritious.
Last reviewed at:
24 Feb 2022 - 4 min read
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